Last week was one of Oyster Bay’s biggest, most anticipated summer events, the Italian American Society’s St. Rocco’s Festival. Returning to its usually spot in Fireman’s Field on Shore Avenue, the festival was filled with amusement rides, live music, and great food and company.
“We come every year to St. Rocco’s with friends,” said Laura Regan of East Norwich. “The rides and awesome food make it a lot of fun.”
One of Oyster Bay’s newest summer traditions is Dancing in the Street, which takes place every Friday in July at the gazebo in town. Sponsored by the Oyster Bay Main Street Association, half of Audrey Avenue is closed off and a DJ is called in for a great night of community dancing from 7-9 p.m.
“This is a great tradition and a beautiful town,” said visitor Michaela Lachance from Cooperstown, NY. “Everyone is having a wonderful time.”
Last week, Sea Cliff Mayor Bruce Kennedy officially announced his candidacy for New York State’s 5th Senate District. The previous week, he became a Democrat after being ousted by the Nassau GOP as a Republican Assembly Candidate for implementing New York’s Marriage Equality Law and officiating same sex weddings.
“This is about being a public servant,” Kennedy said. “I took an oath to uphold the constitution and the laws of the State of New York.”
Sue Klein and Joan McCauley, who are Friends of the Library, have been collecting donated books from the community and displaying them at the Long Island Railroad waiting area every week. The Book Ladies have also displayed Locust Valley Library programs so that commuters are aware of all the wonderful events that are going on.
There will be a different look to the Oyster Bay-East Norwich Board of Education come September. Assistant Superintendent for Finance and Operations Christopher Van Cott is leaving his position to take a similar role in the Oceanside School District. He is following in the footsteps of past OBEN School Superintendent Dr. Phyllis Harrington, who also left to take a similar position in Oceanside last year. The district will begin their search for a replacement for Van Cott this summer.
Parishioners of St. Dominic Church said farewell to a well-loved priest, Father Gerry Gordon, at a reception in the Social Room, after he performed his last Mass on June 22. Father Gordon is bringing his skillset to a new parish, part of his life journey as a priest. While the loss of a cherished priest is the cost to St. Dominic’s, his new parish, St. Martin of Tours, benefits.
Beverly Zembko, an active member of the St. Dominic Parish explained that, “As Catholics, the parishioners of the Church of St. Dominic are aware of the great need for pastors and priests in our diocese. Bishop Murphy has determined that Father Gerry is needed at St. Martin of Tours in Amityville.
The Oyster Bay-East Norwich Community Band is returning to its historical roots in the village this summer. The location of the band’s Summer Lawn Concerts will be moved from their usual location in front of Oyster Bay High School a little further west on East Main Street.
Because of brick and sidewalk repair work to the high school, that venue is not available this season. Two neighboring churches have graciously offered their grounds for summer concerts, the First Presbyterian Church and Christ Church.
“Special thanks are due to, respectively, to Rev. Dr. Jeffrey Prey and Rev. Peter Casparian, for extending such warm welcomes,” says Stephen Walker, the band’s director.
Recently, an eager group of young padawans (Jedi students) received a lesson in using their force wisely at Oyster Bay Family Karate. It was no surprise that the Star Wars training class was a hit amongst the kids, although owner Bobby Rekha says he wasn’t expecting the enthusiasm he received from the adults. “As soon as we put the sign up, I had adult kick boxers asking if they could come.”
Some had even hoped to wear costumes.
The Oyster Bay Music Festival has become a summer classic in the hamlet. Now in its third year, the festival, which ran from June 28 to July 6, had concert-goers reveling in the sounds of beautiful classical tunes from 34 talented young musicians from across Long Island and New York State. The week was filled with 14 public concerts, two open master classes, a concert just for children and two interactive musical workshops. In addition, the performers also held daily concerts for seniors at Day Break Adult Day Care and the Life Enrichment Center.
“We put on these concerts for two different reasons,” said Sarah Hoover, one of the directors of the music festival along with Pippa Borisy and Lauren Ausubel. “To create performance opportunities for talented young musicians who don’t spend a lot of time performing at public venues and to create a concert experience for people that is fun and less formal than your typical classical music concert.”
Oyster Bay resident and independent musician Gianni Paci, a 2010 graduate of Oyster Bay High School, is taking the stage at St. Rocco’s Festival twice this weekend, giving his home town a chance to experience his solo endeavor.
“This is exciting for me because I have been going to the festival for years,” says Paci, who grew up down the street from Fireman’s Field.
Earlier this year, Paci released his first single, “Goodbye,” which has received a lot of attention by fans and media outlets alike.
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