2008-09-05 / Columnists

Notes from the High C's

Rockaway Music and Arts Council
by Sharon Gabriel

Can you believe that Labor Day is already here? Where did the summer go? For the most part we have had glorious weather because the humidity stayed low much of the time. Of course, there were those days, but still and all I think it was a good summer here in Rockaway.

Though we weren't able to hold our Summer Concert Series this year, our Fall Festival is just around the corner, next Saturday and Sunday, September 13 and 14, at Jacob Riis Park.

Approximately 70 different types of vendors will show there, some return friends and some new ones. As I say every year, come visit and think of starting your holiday shopping early - one, to avoid the crowds and two, you won't be able to beat the prices. I know personally, that every year I find a "find," something to add to my holiday list, something for a new baby or something unique for my home. Just two years ago, I found a hand-painted miniature buckboard wagon with metal handle and wheels which I use to hold plants. It is a conversation piece and everyone asks where it came from. When I tell them I brought it at the festival they are very surprised, but it is one of the unusual things you might find for yourself.

As usual, the kids are not forgotten. The Kensington Stables from Brooklyn will again have their pony rides and, for a small fee, we will be happy to take your child's picture on the pony. While the rides are free, the small cost for a picture helps us provide for the film for the next year and the balance goes to the RMAC treasury to be used for other projects.

Andre Richaud and the Party Pets will be with us again. Andre is terrific with the animals. He has a big operation on Long Island and can be seen at many events and on television from time to time. There will be chickens, goats, sheep and whatever for the children to pet and feed. This is always a big event and crowded every year.

Of course, Paula, our sand-art lady, will be just across from the ponies and next to us will be our fabulous facepainter, the best there is, so be sure to stop off. We are all at the side of the walk as you leave the parking lot and enter the festival grounds.

Now to one of the most important stops at the festival, "food, glorious food," can be found on the lawn just to the right of the bathhouse. While most of our favorites will be back, I just heard that our spiral potato man was involved in an accident and his cart was demolished. Thank goodness no one was hurt, but he will not be with us this year. However, it looks like we found a substitute. While not spiral potatoes, we will have fries from another vendor, so not to worry. I know the fries are one of the favorites of everyone, and to tell you the truth, I think they have been with us almost from the start of our two-day festival. Another new vendor will be making zeppole's and a real old favorite - remember egg creams? Just the other day, I stopped at a frozen yogurt shop in Lido Beach and there on the menu, I saw egg creams. I couldn't believe it. Of course, when we used to get them in our local candy stores they were probably twenty-five cents. Today, forget about the price and just enjoy. You're going to have to beat me to the front of the line. While details are still being worked out, it looks as though we might have a Caribbean food vendor. This will be new to the festival, but we won't know for sure for a few days. Not to be left out are the Pickle People. The absolute best pickles south of Orchard Street, the Pickle People sell out almost every day. If you like regular dill, half dill, garlic, horseradish or any other kind of pickles, they have them. But I suggest you don't wait for the end of the day to buy them, because there may not be any left. That happened to me one year, so I know better now.

While it may be a little early to thank anyone for the efforts in putting this year's festival together, special thanks go to our Festival Chairman, John Musumeci and our Vendor Chairman, Fern Liberman. Not only did negotiations drag on with Gateway, but final arrangement could not be made to have the festival until the early part of the year. Normally, they are made at the end of the year, shortly after the festival ends when we send out our vendor applications. So while we had less time this year, you will not see it at the festival because of the work of the above mentioned board members. Not only that, but in-between, Fern had to attend to the marriage of one daughter this spring, and her other daughter is being married in October, and she has a full-time job. Talk about a full plate.

I know I'm beginning to sound like a broken record, but becoming a member of the RMAC goes a long way in helping us sustain the programs that we present to the neighborhood. A single membership is only $25 per year and a double membership (husband and wife) is a mere $40 per year and the rates go up from there with your generosity.

You cannot get a good dinner in New York for $40 and here you help a local organization which, in turn, provides programs like the festival, concerts, museum trips, and programs at our schools. Think about putting something back in Rockaway. Please stop at the RMAC tent in the middle of the festival grounds and see one of our people who will assist you in how to become a member.

As I have said previously, also at the RMAC tent will be flyers for the Memorial Concert on October 11 for Barbara Eisenstadt. If you plan to attend, speak to one of our members who will be happy to put you on the list and reserve your space. Cost per person to the concert will be $25. The program will star the Long Island Pops Orchestra and the Rockaway Theatre Company.

Also at our tent will be applications for our museum trip on November 1, to the William K. Vanderbilt II Estate on Long Island to be followed by dinner at the 1790 Maine Maid Inn. If you are an RMAC member the price is $85 and for non-members it is $90. Here again, is a good reason to become an RMAC member.

See you next week at the Festival. Stop by the pony rides, where you can find me, and say hello.

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