2004-09-17 / Community

Notes from the High C’s

Rockaway Music and Arts Council
by Sharon Gabriel

Thank you Rockaway for making our 20th Annual Fall Festival such a great success. Wow – what a great weekend of beautiful weather – just perfect for enjoying a day at the beach.

We do not as yet have an official estimate of the number of people attending but there were many more than at previous festivals. There were lines wherever you looked – at the soup vendor who was giving out samples and selling the ingredients so you can make your own, to the artists and jewelry vendors who presented magnificent pieces of their work.

As I mentioned last week, we had a 9/11 tribute on Saturday, led by the County Tyrone Pipe Band who marched into the festival. The tribute was led by our President, Barbara Eisenstadt, who spoke beautiful words to honor the neighbors we lost that day. Following Eisenstadt, Rabbi May of the West End Temple recited a prayer. Congressman Weiner, Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer and Councilman Joseph Addabbo each said a few words to commemorate the occasion as several servicemen and women stood at attention. Set against the backdrop of the Riis Park Bathhouse, with American flags flying, the event concluded with the singing of “God Bless America” and the exiting of the County Tyrone Pipe Band. It was a peaceful and reflective moment in time. As I turned around and faced the city, I realized you could see the skyline where the Twin Towers once stood. It just sent a shiver down my back. There was a space where two buildings should be standing against a perfectly blue sky.

As the tribute ended, everyone returned to their private thoughts and back to enjoying the event. As I was meandering around to see the different displays, I found Nature’s Isle Caribbean Sauces. With free samples, you had to buy something. There was a spicy barbecue sauce, wonderful fruit chutney, banana dressing, vinaigrette and several more. They were delicious and I bought a few. Sarah had beautiful jewelry, quite out of the ordinary and priced accordingly. With semi-precious stones, pearls and beaded flowers, each piece was magnificent.

Food was never a problem. With Steve Good and the Beach Club, Mike Mahoney and his spiral potatoes, crab cakes and souvlaki – you couldn’t go hungry. Drinks were plentiful from lemonade to whipped up fruit drinks at Maui Wowi, soft drinks, coffee and tea.

On Sunday, our special visitors were Ronald McDonald and Senator Chuck Schumer. Both wowed the crowd. Ronald was all over with the kids and Senator Schumer mentioned that he took his daughter to college on Saturday and was “tired of schlepping” all of her things. He was a good sport to make the event and we thank him for all that he has done for the RMAC over the years. Ronald made quite a splash with the children as you can see from the accompanying photo. I would like to thank Iris Lawrence of McDonald’s on Beach 92 Street for her generosity in seeing that Ronald is with us each year.

With all the work being done in the park there times we thought the

festival would never happen…not enough electrical power, no chairs, no tables, holes in the ground, being sure there enough garbage pails, bathroom facilities…all of the things that have to be accounted for along with many others. This event would never have happened without the cooperation of the National Park Service at Fort Tilden, Christine, Sully, Jason, Rita, Nancy and their staff. Of course, our members are to be commended also, from John Musumeci, our Festival Chairman, Fern Liberman in charge of obtaining the vendors, Sally Gwirtzman who arranges for all the demonstrations that go on throughout the day and a small thanks to me, who handled the children’s events. I’ll blow my own horn a little.

We hope you attended, had some fun and remembered to become a member of the RMAC so that we can continue presenting quality programs to our neighbors.

See you at the next event.

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