2007-09-14 / Columnists

Notes from the High C's

Rockaway Music and Arts Council
Commentary by Sharon Gabriel

Well, the Fall Festival has come and gone and we had a great weekend. Thank you Rockaway, for making it a success. The weather was beautiful both Saturday and Sunday and we couldn't have asked for anything more, especially when I saw how foggy and clammy it was on Monday morning. I'm sure someone was watching over us.

Things started before we were actually set up. There were people walking around at 10:00 a.m., standing on the line for pickles before the stand was open, at 11 a.m. On Sunday evening as we were breaking down I walked passed the booth and there was not a pickle left. They sold out both days.

We had several new vendors and I'm sure they did well, as there were always people around them whenever I walked past. One vendor made dolls' clothing, but nothing I've ever seen before. The close work that had to go into that has to be very tedious. If you wanted a sequined dress with feathers on the bottom, the vendor had it. How about a white jogging suit with silver pallets on the jacket, or an outfit with a fur wrap? Another vendor who came from out of town had beautiful blown glass vases in many colors and with many designs. These are only a couple of the vendors who visited this year.

For the kids, there was an exotic animal show on Sunday that attracted many kids and just as many parents. I remember seeing a very large and long yellow snake and I'm glad I was standing far away. It was not a dangerous snake but still and all!!!

Once in a while, I was able to get away from my pony ride post and visit around the park and for those times I would like to thank many people who were gracious enough to help me out.

To our own members Mary Ogona, Myra Berger and Bernice Meyers (and her friend Miriam), thank you also. Thanks to Barbara Banchik and Leon Paley for taking wonderful pictures. To our teen-age volunteers, who each year prove that we have the best kids around, thank you.

They are always willing to help.

There were many others who stepped in to assist us, including The Graybeards, who did some heavy lifting in helping us set up and break down. These guys are always ready to help when asked.

Thanks, guys.

A big thanks also to Boardwalk Bagel on Beach 108 Street. They stepped in to provide breakfast both Saturday and Sunday and they filled a big void. Thanks also to Waldbaums for their emergency assistance on the spur of the moment.

There are two others who I dont want to forget; we call them Toni and Tony. They are our members, ToniAnn Geraci and her husband Anthony Falconite. The two Tonys are out at the parking lot on both days to accept contributions from those entering the lot. They are always generous with their time and have been doing this job for several years. This year, however, Gateway wanted them away from the booth as you enter the parking lot, so they were way out in the street. Sorry, guys, I know you could have gotten yourselves killed standing in the street, but there was nothing we could do about it.

This Festival would not have been possible without two people who I thank each year; but cant say enough about - our Festival Chairman, John Musumeci and Vendor Chairman, Fern Liberman. How these two didnt end up in the Green Acres Loony Bin after these last few months, I do not know. John, Fern, and our President, Steve Yaeger and our Chairman, Barbara Eisenstadt, have been trying to work with Gateway to iron out the many problems that they presented to us before they would agree to the Festival going on. Finally, we got the okay, but not without taking one step forward and two steps back. But, we did it and we know from what we have heard from those attending that they loved it and hope that we are able to continue again next year. The Festival has been presented for 23 years now and hopefully will continue for many more years. It all depends on Gateway.

While the Festival was going on, you could see the fabulous kites flying from Bay 9 at Riis Park. It's hard to describe them. There were lizards, flags and many other unusual kites flying. At the same time, on Saturday morning, there were the World War II planes on their way to Floyd Bennett for the Flyin.

Some of the men at the Festival were pointing out the different planes as they flew by. I was hoping to see a P-47 Thunderbolt, because that was the plane that my father build and supervised at Republic Aircraft in Farmingdale. It was amazing to listen to the propeller-driven planes and how different they sound compared to the jets we have today.

Of course, the ones who get the biggest thanks are you, our Rockaway neighbors and our friends from surrounding areas. None of this would be possible without you and we look forward to seeing you again next year.

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