2006-09-15 / Columnists

Notes from the High C's

Rockaway Music and Arts Council
by Sharon Gabriel

Well, here it is, the weekend of our Fall Festival. Most of the hard work is done and now it's time for the show to go on, as they say on Broadway. The one thing we don't have any control over is the weather and so I'm hoping everyone says a prayer, or whatever, that we have beautiful days Saturday and Sunday, September 16 and September 17. Hours are from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday.

I was speaking to Fern Liberman, our Vendor Chairman, today and while many of our old friends are coming back again, there will be many new ones coming from as far away as Florida and California.

Considering how we started 22 years ago with a one-day event and our ladies making brownies and chocolate chip cookies to sell with cider and coffee, we have come a long way. Today we have approximately 80 vendors of all types and attendance of approximately 20,000. From gourmet foods to stained glass and from photography to Caribbean sauces, there will be something for everyone. One food vendor, Catamount Specialties, sells award-winning mustards and dips and I remember the lines at his table last year. There will be gourmet food vendors selling jams and jellies, soups, dips and barbeque sauces. Of course, one of my favorites is the Pickle People. Make sure you get to them early because the lines are always very long and by the end of the day they can run out of some favorites. There will be jewelers and potters, photography and fine arts, and many more vendors.

Some of our special events will include Ronald McDonald on Saturday afternoon, Bruce Hodes and his World Champion Karate students, an exotic animal show on Sunday afternoon along with the petting zoo which will be with us for two days as will the pony rides. Strolling musicians will be throughout the park and they are always delightful. Oh, you're getting a little tired from walking around; well, just stop over at the food court for some spiral potatoes, The Beach Club food and much more. Have a seat and enjoy your lunch.

As I mentioned in a previous column, both the North Shore Animal League and the ASPCA will be at the park on Sunday only with puppies and kittens, so if you were thinking of a pet for yourself or your children, Sunday is the day to visit.

Don't forget to visit the Demonstration Tent where you will see lace making, quilting and many other crafts. Sally Gwirtzman, who is in charge of our Demonstration Tent, has been working diligently to be sure that there is always something going on at her tent. If you have a special talent and would like to become a demonstration vendor next year, speak to Sally and she will take all the necessary information from you.

Once again our Cause Area will have many old and some new friends. From the local hospitals to the District Attorney's office to Arverne By The Sea, be sure to stop over and check them all out. Some very vital information can be obtained free of charge.

What can I possibly say about the flower show? This year the Shore Garden Club of Belle Harbor and Neponsit will have a beautiful venue for their show, the newly refurbished Jacob Riis Park Bathhouse. Even if you can't get a seed to grow, you have to see the beautiful displays that our local garden club members arrange each year. Growing flowers and plants is one thing, but how to display them in an artistic way is quite a different talent. I know personally. I have a green thumb and anything grows in my home, but there is no way I could ever do what the garden club does. It is truly an art.

If you have never been to the Festival before, just remember, parking and entry are free and you really don't have to spend a dime, but that wouldn't help the vendors, so come and look around, check out gifts for the holidays, treat your kids to a pony ride and painted faces, and enjoy some food. You will have a wonderful time.

On another note, I am a great fan of The Rockaway Theatre Company and all of their productions. For one more week they will be presenting NOISES OFF. Don't miss it. If you like to laugh, you will be falling out of your seat. How these very talented actors perform this show, sometimes twice a day, is beyond me. It is so physical and fast moving that I was exhausted just watching. It's a show within a show. A group of English traveling actors performing in the country keep missing their lines, having bloody noses from sheer excitement, hating each other in between scenes and constantly being out of place is really not a very good explanation of this play. It's truly a farce with a two-tier set in a country estate with seven doors. How this wonderful cast can remember where they are supposed to be at any given time is a tribute to their talent. Then, of course, there are the sardines. Don't ask!!! Just run to the theatre for a wonderful event. To John Gilleece, Peggy Page, Susan Jasper, their actors and staff, congratulations on your fantastic shows. Well, this is it, our big weekend and we look forward to seeing everyone. I'm always at the Pony rides, so stop by and say hello.

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