1999-10-02 / Columnists

Notes From The High C’s

Rockaway Music and Arts Council

by Sharon Gabriel

RMAC’s 16th Annual Fall Festival has come and gone and we are here to report that it was one great event.

Adults found much to like from new vendors, and a concert by Oscar Brand, to a new petting zoo and new pony rides for the children. Each day here was a constant stream of people strolling the grounds, enjoying food and drink and taking in what turned out to be a beautiful weekend.

Breezy Point Garden Club had a constant stream of people in and out of their tent. I personally can attest to the beautiful displays they exhibited. One of their displays included a beautiful bed with food trays and floral displays. At that point in the day I could have personally laid down on the bed and rested for about an hour. That is how hectic the days were. There were constant lines at the North Shore Animal League van to adopt dogs and cats. Additionally, the greyhounds caused lots of attention. What beautiful animals. I do hope some of them wore adopted as well. Of course, one of my favorites was The Pickle People. There was a line from the moment they set up shop. Being smart this year, I placed my order early to be sure and not miss out on what I wanted. You must stop by next year and try the cajun or horseradish pickles, or any other type they make.

On Saturday afternoon, Oscar Brand performed starting at 4 p.m. and what a great turnout. Later in the day he came over to the RMAC membership tent along with his wife. What a charming gentleman. He is always a big attraction when he appears at the RMAC Summer Picnic Concerts.

On Sunday afternoon, Wade Henry and his unicycle appeared. From my vantage point at the pony rides, I could see that he attracted quite a crowd with his juggling and riding and his acrobatics. The crowd was applauding his every move.

Rockaway Artists Alliance was a great attraction for the children. Geoff Rawling dressed each child in an oversized tee shirt, handed them a brush and paints and away they went to the large canvas attached to the fence to paint their hearts away. Watching each child in their quiet way paint to their hearts content, and their folks never having to worry about the mess, was great fun.

All of the artists who attended, from Steve Yaeger and Patrick Antonelli, with their beautiful original art, to Gail Carter, our children's face painter, were constantly busy. While Steve and Patrick each work in different mediums, their art is exceptional. Gail Carter, is the most original face painter. When the festival closed each evening she still had a line of children. The most popular face was Batman.

Food vendors, from Steve and Kenny Good and The Beach Club to our old friend the Potato Man, had constant lines. Lots of hungry people in Rockaway.

There were so many nice comments from the vendors. They were very pleased that a free breakfast is available, each morning. For that we have to thank Annie Elfant and Jenny Magnicari, who, year after year, are at the park early in the morning to set up coffee, bagels, etc. These two ladies set out a beautiful lace cloth and make all the vendors happy with their goodies.

There are several RMAC members who I would like to acknowledge for the time and effort they put into this festival each year.

First and foremost is our President, Barbara Eisenstadt. Available at any time of day or night, Barbara is forever cheerful with never a cross word and she handles every little problem that no one else can deal with.

Next, our new Festival Chairman, John Musumeci. This is the first year that John has been in charge and I can personally say, he was terrific. Every detail was down to a science. We had meeting upon meeting to be sure each vendor was in the right place, each musical group knew when to appear and what each of us were to do.

The festival would never have happened if it weren't for Fern Liberman. Fern was in charge of cause groups and somehow also handled the vendors. How she did everything she did is beyond me. With close to one hundred different groups and vendors to deal with, Fern was a real trouper.

Nadia Murphy was constantly running back and forth, organizing the garden club and the problems in getting them set up. Fielding any number of questions and generally just being there and doing whatever had to be done to make the festival a great event.

To Heidi Gliboff, who was in charge of the volunteers, thank you for a great group of high schooners. We really couldn't have done it without the kids from Beach Channel High School, who volunteer each year. From taking pictures at the pony rides to manning the donation box on the way out of the park, these kids are just great.

A special thank you is due to Marvin Eisenstadt and the guys from his company who, year after year, are here to help set up the festival. Especially to Adrian and his buddies. We really couldn't do it without them. Thanks guys.

At the end of the Festival, park personnel could not estimate the amount of people who had attended, but they felt the number would be quite high, possibly 10, 000 to 15,000.

To everyone who attended, thank you for your support of the RMAC.


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