2013-09-20 / Community

Playland Revived

By Katie McFadden

Playland is coming back to life for a weekend. As part of the first Rollicking Rockaways Weekend, an exhibition will take place as a tribute to the former amusements in the Rockaways including Thompson’s Park and Playland.

The Rollicking Rockaways weekend will take place from September 27th through September 29th at the Rockaway Beach Surf Club at 302 Beach 87th Street. The Rockaways’ Playland Tribute Exhibition will be open throughout the weekend, starting with an opening reception from 6 to 9 p.m. on Friday, September 27th. The exhibit will include old postcards, photographs, memorabilia items, old signs and other items that will bring back memories of the old Playland and Thompson’s Park. Guests will also be able to share their own memories at a special Memory Booth.

On Saturday, from 7 to 9 p.m., a special cabaret night will be held outdoors and will feature various performers including a very old contortionist, a mime, a circus performer and juggler, a magician, musicians and more. On Sunday, there will be a game day featuring games of skill and chance. The games, created from cardboard, will be played outside.

There is much more in store throughout the weekend and creator, Audrey Mattio guarantees that visitors will laugh and have fun. The event is free, but donations are accepted. It is a familyfriendly event and open to all, but underage kids must be accompanied by a legal guardian as the venue serves alcohol.

The Rollicking Rockaways Weekend is just the latest fun event to be brought to the community by Mattio and her friends. She created the Rollicking Rockaways “as a response to the bleakness of Sandy’s aftermath,” she said. “While I couldn’t provide the heavy machinery required to do much of the rebuilding, I could contribute by trying to bring some fun and light-heartedness back into the area, and give those impacted by the hurricane a smile or two.”

Mattio also wanted to focus on Rockaway’s rich carnival history. “The idea was that as the community started to reimagine itself as it began reconstructing, perhaps showing some of the area’s history would help. Very often looking backwards helps people move forward!” Mattio said.

Throughout the summer, Mattio and her friends opened “The Smallest Carnival on Earth,” featuring carnival games and activities right from her garage. The First Rollicking Rockaways Weekend is her latest project and Mattio says it won’t be her last. “I’m not sure what the third project is going to be, but it will be fun for sure!”

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