2000-11-04 / Columnists

Notes From The High-C’s

By Sharon Gabriel


Brining the arts and theater to Rockaway are (from left) John Musumeci, John Gilleece and Marvin Eisenstadt. 
Brining the arts and theater to Rockaway are (from left) John Musumeci, John Gilleece and Marvin Eisenstadt.

RMAC’s 17th Annual Fall Festival has come and gone, and while the weather did not fully cooperate, Saturday was overcast and rainy, Sunday was beautiful, and the festival grounds were buzzing with people. There were lines everywhere, at the "fire" house, the petting zoo and pony rides, the North Shore Animal League van, the Pickle People and demonstration tent, as well as the flower show tent.

While our banner says, "The Rockaway Music & Arts Council Welcomes You," there are many people besides the RMAC members who are a big part of the event and without whom we could never accomplish all that we do those two days to welcome you.

I would like to thank them all, and I am sure I am going to leave someone out, but if I do, please excuse the oversight; it is truly not meant to be.

First and foremost, the National Park personnel. Most specifically, Alexcy Romero who is in charge of Fort Tilden and Riis Park, and Christine Hoepfner and Mike Sullivan, otherwise known as "Sully" to everyone. Without these three people there never would have been a festival. Any major questions went to Alexcy and Christine. Anything from obtaining chairs to checking electrical outlets to placing spikes in the ground, "Sully" was the man to see.

After the park personnel, there are our own "superstars". Our President, Barbara Eisenstadt, how she does everything she does, and keeps it all straight, I’ll never know. You can call Barbara any time of the day or night and she is always there with the answer and always so cheerful and under control. Next is our Festival Chairman, John Musumeci. John has been a miracle man since he took over the chairmanship. In years past John was in charge of the music and the physical set-up of the grounds, marking off vendor spots, overseeing the electrical that was needed, but two years ago, John became the chairman just at the time we had to move from Ft. Tilden and look for new space. So, besides having to learn the ropes of the chairmanship, he also had to be concerned as to where the festival was going to be held. No small job, it turned out. From all that we have heard from our visitors, they are, for the most part, very happy with the new surroundings. There is another person without whom we absolutely could not present the festival, and that is Fern Liberman. Fern is in charge of the vendors and her job literally runs all year long. Fern and her husband, Nat, scour the east coast for unusual and different vendors and it has shown in the many new ones that have been at the festival.

There are others to thank as well: Sally Gwirtzman, Sheila Shaftel, Gert Goldsmith, Judy Yaeger, Steve Yaeger, Nancy Vardakis, Gary Gliboff, Laurie Musumeci, and many more.

Geoff Rawling and the Rockaway Artists Alliance are to be thanked as well. Never one to say no, Geoff was at the fence with a large canvas for the children to paint. The Rockaway Repertory Company and John Gilleece who had his adult actors performing "Honeymooner’s" skits on Saturday and children performing a different program on Sunday.

Did you notice our beautiful new blue and white signs everywhere from Seagirt boulevard in Far Rockaway to Flatbush avenue in Brooklyn? Lenny Cohen of Rockaway Graphics was responsible. Lenny even went so far as to put up the signs late at night (I saw him myself on Seagirt). So, you couldn’t miss the RMAC Festival even if you wanted to.

To Anthony Falconite, who was at the exit to the parking lot collecting contributions from those who were leaving the grounds. Anthony, you did a great job for the RMAC.

Thank you to "chefs" Katherine Bendo and Maxine Schack for the great job they did serving juice and coffee and danish, etc.

To all the exhibitors at the demonstration tent, from the lace ladies who are such a hit every year, to Maryann McAvoy, who demonstrated quilting, and to all others, thank you for adding so much to the vent.

There are many high schoolers who volunteer each year and this year we would like to thank, among them, Samantha and Melissa Howard and their friends.

And what event in Rockaway would be complete without Lew Simon, who was all over the grounds giving out our programs with his usual gusto.

I know I have left someone out, but as I stated above, I apologize for not remembering everyone.

Following the festival each year, the RMAC has a "wrap party" for all our members and all the people who volunteer and participate in planning the event. Of course, the party is usually held at The Beach Club as it was this year. A big thank you to those "Good" guys, Steven and Kenny, for putting on such a beautiful dessert buffet. Here are some of the pictures taken during the party.


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