Preparing for the Wonderful Woodhaven Street Festival
by Maria Thomson
Sep 10, 2013 | 1278 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Before you know it, we have come to that time of the year when our Greater Woodhaven Development Corporation board, staff and I accelerate our hard work in preparation for our October 20th “Wonderful Woodhaven Street Festival.”

All of our Jamaica Avenue stores and restaurants are getting prepared for this, our 33rd annual street festival. (Can you believe 33 years?) As I have stated before, I remember the first street fair, a small arts and crafts fair with only vendors and no stores or businesses participating. The area covered a mere five blocks.

What a difference now. Our street festival is now on 10 blocks from Woodhaven Boulevard to 80th Street, with most of our own Jamaica Avenue stores and restaurants involved. You can just feel the excitement of sales signs and bargain tags being readied, and our many different restaurant menus being prepared.

The Greater Woodhaven Development board and staff are working very hard to sponsor and produce this festival, which is no easy feat for our organization, which does it all. In order to gain the proper approvals and accomplish a successful safe festival on our own, with no Professional Producer and with no other Organizations involved, it’s all us, my Staff and I- all part-timers!

Our GWDC board and small staff who care about Woodhaven run this New York City-renowned, safe festival, which has been chosen the “Best Street Fair” in Queens. So come out on Sunday, October 20, from noon to 6 p.m. Bring the family for a safe, fun-filled family day. Please have good thoughts for sun.

We will have small carousel and pony rides and games, beautiful sparkling antique cars, and a variety of vendors with unique products, as well as our great Woodhaven stores with bargains. Also those zeppoles, sausages and peppers that truly make it a festival.

The entertainment for the festival will be the country music of the Mary Lamont Band, with line dancers and instruction in the streets. Other bands will play along the avenue, featuring some festival veterans.

This year again we will have the Malaysian Lion Dancers of Lunar New Year fame. These thrilling musicians and dancers who were so great in past years will also be part of our entertainment program.

This past Sunday, I attended the small but poignant ceremony at Dry Harbor Playground in Forest Park at the 9/11 Memorial Garden and Memorial Stone in honor of local residents lost that day.

This memorial was made a reality in 2007. Sadly, proponent Ed Walter passed and never saw this beautiful completed garden, which is dedicated to 43 surrounding community residents that were lost on that fateful day.

This ceremony since 2007 has been continued by Dorie Capace, Harold McCabe, Vincent Arcuri and others every year. We were honored also to have in attendance Rose Marti, whose only son Michael was lost that day.

Since September 11, 2001, I have attended so many 9/11 memorials, each one being a sad tearful experience for me as well as all that were in attendance. It is so heart-wrenching to hear the grieving families speak of loved ones that were lost. These ceremonies are very sad and very heartbreaking, but also uplifting for every year we remember each and every one we lost that infamous day and recommit to “Never Forget and Never Again.”

This past Sunday was a good way to spend this day, which was beautiful and sunny so much like that sad day twelve years ago.

Our GWDC meeting is on Tuesday, September 24, at 7:30 p.m. at St. Thomas the Apostle on 88th Street. At this meeting, as at all of our September meetings, there will be a special September 11, 2001, Remembrance. Please attend and share with us all your September 11, 2001, experiences, poems and your thoughts that evening.

Since there will be no October GWDC meeting, this evening will also be our candidates' night for the November 5th general election. Please mark your calendars and plan to attend this important meeting.

May God bless our leaders, may God bless our armed forces, may God bless our disabled veterans, and most of all may God bless our America.

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