The housing bubble burst; kids graduating from college couldn’t find jobs.
Kenneth Rudzewick, former president of Maspeth Federal Savings, wanted to do something to make Maspeth more palatable...and to add more smiles. He decided to throw a carnival, filled with castles, games, contests and entertainment.
Eleven years later, the annual event has grown into a beloved community event. Rudzewick said the last time they counted, more than 7,000 people walked through the gates into Maspeth Federal’s parking lot.
“It’s been a labor of love,” he said. “All the employees participate, so everybody’s part of the team. It worked out very well.”
On a sweltering Sunday afternoon, thousands of children and parents filled the parking lot. Some kids had their faces painted, others got to ride a horse, jump inside bouncy castles or win prizes at the carnival games.
Outside the parking lot, volunteer groups served up hot dogs, all free for participants.
Rudzewick said Smile on Maspeth is their most popular event of the year, and it proves that Maspeth Federal is a true community bank.
“People ask me, ‘What date is that? I want to mark my calendar,’” he said. “It shows that it’s well appreciated.”
With so many young children sporting smiles on their faces, Rudzewick said it’s evident that the community enjoys the annual carnival.
“That’s our motto, we treat you like family,” he said. “We try to live up to that motto everyday.”
Assemblyman Brian Barnwell attended the event and chatted with community members during the festivities.
“The event is a great way to bring the whole community together to celebrate Maspeth and meet or catch up with your neighbors,” he said.