This is always a nerve-wracking time, for if rain was a possibility in the forecast it means that there will be low attendance and the possibility of the cancellation of our entertainment, but happily it turned out to be a bright sunny, warm day.
Our day was drenched with sunshine and the weather was perfect. So, the entertainment Program was on. The acrobatics of the Malaysian Lion Dancers were great and show-stopping, with the drums and the dancers enchanting the crowd.
The Franklin K. Lane High School outdid themselves this year with the Drum Corps, the R.O.T.C. cadets and their great Honor Guard and Rifle Drill Corps under the leadership of Master Sergeant Eddie Carr. What a great group of young people.
The Imperial Dragon Hombu Dojo located on Jamaica Avenue under the leadership of Kyoshi Myron were also there for the 33rd year. Our musical groups along our avenue were just fantastic. Our two great groups, Solid State Band and Plastic Soul, and Ernie on his guitar had people dancing and singing along.
Our country-western group this year again was The Mary Lamont Band. They really got our toes tapping and our feet dancing as at all of our street festivals. This year more than ever there was dancing in the streets.
The theme of our day again this year was “Patriotic Red, White and Blue,” and American flags were flying proudly along Woodhaven’s Jamaica Avenue from Dexter Court to 100th Street. And our GWDC booth distributed over 300 small American flags, red, white and blue pencils, and “I Love Woodhaven” and Woodhaven Fire Department decals.
Also, in keeping with the country-western music, cowboy hats could be seen worn by young and the young at heart. There was something for everyone.
The beginning and the end of the festival blocks were marked by two bright lights strung across our Jamaica Avenue courtesy of Illuminations by Arnold. Also represented were the 102nd Precinct Auxiliary Police, and many more non-profit groups.
The NYPD and FDNY were recruiting future members, and many city agencies distributed information and offered free medical testing.
Our Jamaica Avenue Restaurants welcomed in those that wanted seated service. Participating were Pan Ugo Bakery, Mistura Pervana, Guadalupana Meat Market, and El Puerto Mexicano. All the restaurants on our Avenue were very busy.
Also, the businesses participating were DeSano Chiropractic and Vitality Center, Elite Karate, T-mobile, Good Health Pharmacy, Aina Gift Shop, Universal Multi Services, Falcon Karate, Priceless Clothing, KP Pro Video, the Haven Hallmark Card Store, Allstate Insurance, Harry’s Grocery, Mayo Karate, Park Place Florist and Healthmax Pharmacy.
Our formal ceremony for the day was held at 3 p.m. and was commenced by the singing of the Star-Spangled Banner by Woodhaven's Mechelle Illescas, daughter of Jimmy, owner of Tropical Restaurant, and the reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance by George and Manny Xenakis, sons of Mathew Xenakis of Park Place Florist and president of the Woodhaven Business Improvement District.
Our elected officials, State Senator Joseph Addabbo, Assemblyman Michael Miller, council members Eric Ulrich and Elizabeth Crowley, and Barbara Baruch representing Comptroller John Liu were on stage. Each spoke glowingly of the Greater Woodhaven Development Corporation and our great Woodhaven.
The GWDC then presented a special memento to Crowley; a glass carousel horse figurine in recognition of her work getting landmark status for our Forest Park Carousel, the Jewel of Forest Park.
To all of our Woodhaven’s Jamaica Avenue stores and businesses, all of our local organizations, the unique vendors, the rock-climbing wall courtesy of the NYPD, the great rides of different types for all different ages by our guy George, and most of all the wonderful residents in attendance, a big thank you.
Also, to our sponsors, Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez, aforementioned elected officials, Community Federal Savings Bank, P.C. Richards, New York State Lottery, Woodhaven Business Improvement District, Illuminations by Arnold, Rubie’s Costumes, Logan Bus Company, Queens County Savings Bank, Walker Funeral Home, Ohlert-Ruggiere, The Chronicle, The Forum, The Gazette, The Leader/Observer, Queens Courier, Times Newsweekly, and Tribune.
Also, the New York Mets, Health First, Resorts World Casino and Dee and Dee Stores.
The GWDC staff thanks our supportive Board of Directors, our hardworking staff, Maureen, Lisa, and John, who did a great job coordinating this year, and all the fine young people of Woodhaven who helped us that day, it was a labor of love.
A big thank you goes to the 102nd Precinct Deputy Inspector Henry Sautner and our great 102nd Precinct police officers who kept us safe that day.
So Shop Woodhaven’s “Everything” Jamaica Avenue. In this our Woodhaven – A Small Town Haven in the City - where we were truly blessed on this day and every day. Wear your American flag pins, fly our American flag proudly above all others.
May God bless our armed forces, may God bless our coalition forces, may God bless our disabled veterans and may God bless America.