2006-09-22 / Columnists

Notes from the High C's

Rockaway Music and Arts Council
by Sharon Gabriel

Thank you to everyone for making our Festival last weekend such a success. The sun shined on us after two days of constant rain and as the festival started on Saturday morning you could actually feel the warmth of summer returning. As you know from my previous columns, we start worrying about the weather a full week before the festival because if it is bad weather, one, we don't want to be standing out there and, two, the vendors are not very happy either. But, somebody up there was smiling at us for sure.

This year, I believe the vendors did some good business because every time I walked around the grounds the vendors were busy. One of the vendors made wooden furniture and miniatures and I purchased a small hand painted buckboard wagon with metal spoke wheels that I am using as a stand for small plants. It's on the floor in my living room in front of my terrace door and it is such a great addition to my home.

Snakes abounded near the petting zoo as part of our exotic animals show and they were a big draw. As a matter of fact, as I came by, one of our volunteers had a snake around her neck. All I can say is I'm glad it was not me. The show went over great and especially with the boys.

At this time I would like to thank Arverne By The Sea for sponsoring the Petting Zoo. To Laura, Kathy, Sarah and all of your staff, thank you for your generosity and thank you also to Charles Jacobs the President of the ABTS Homeowners Association who volunteered with us on Sunday.

As you walked into the Riis Park Bath House you could smell the flowers and once inside the displays were spectacular. Thanks to The Shore Garden Club for a wonderful show.

Wherever you went there were lines, from the District Attorney's tent who were fingerprinting children to the Pickle People to the pony rides and the food court. Every event was busy.

There are always special people and groups to be thanked and this year is no different. Our thanks go to Steve Good and The Beach Club for providing breakfast for the vendors on Saturday and Sunday morning. To Packing and Marvin Eisenstadt and the wonderful people from his office, Adrian and Diego, who year in and year out provide assistance in putting the festival together and folding us up at the end of the event. If it wasn't for Adrian and Diego we would never be able to open on Saturday morning. The Broad Channel Volunteer Ambulance and the TransCare Ambulance who provided special support each day. To Joe Mure for all of his assistance behind the scenes and for letting us participate in his Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. I hope that our buckets added to the funds for this very wonderful organization.

A couple of our unsung heroes are Lenny Kohn of Rockaway Graphics and Toni Ann and Anthony Falconite. Kohn not only made all the Festival signs on Flatbush Avenue, Beach Channel Drive and Seagirt Boulevard, but this year he also provided the bubble gum for our first ever bubble gum blowing contest which was his idea. From what I have heard it went over with a bang. (Big laugh here!) Toni Ann and Anthony are at the parking lot all day hoping everyone will make a small donation to help us continue this event each year. You two guys are unbelievable, thanks for everything.

On Sunday we received a very special Proclamation from Mayor Bloomberg. The Proclamation was presented by Phillip Goldfeder, the Queens Director of the Mayor's Community Assistance unit for the work that the RMAC does to provide this event to the community. As we walked around the area, he was astonished at the number of people in attendance and the wonderful crafts and original art work that was for sale. Goldfeder mentioned that he always loved to come back to Rockaway because he was born here and lived on Beach 9 Street and went to school here as well.

This terrific young man is an asset to our city government.

I especially want to thank our own member, Sally Gwirtzman who every year, single-handedly arranges for all of the people at the demonstration tent. This is a job that takes a long time to accomplish just trying to get everyone placed at specific times so that all of the different crafts can be displayed. Thanks, Sally, for a great job.

And now to the most important people to thank. We couldn't have done it without them and they include our Festival Chairman, John Musumeci, our Vendor Chairman, Fern Liberman, our new President, Steve Yaeger and our Chairlady of the Board, Barbara Eisenstadt who, on a personal note, I will love forever.

I would like to say that I greatly appreciate all of the volunteer help that we have each year because there is no way we could accomplish what we do without them and my biggest thanks goes to you our friends and neighbors who join us each year. We hope to make it year 23 in 2007 and we look forward to seeing you again.

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