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Chamber Lights Up The Holidays

It was all for the snowflakes. The Oyster Bay-East Norwich Chamber of Commerce hosted its annual fundraiser to Light Up The Holidays on Nov. 7, at Mill Neck Manor for the Deaf, a chamber member. The event celebrated the chamber’s successful programs presented over the year, including Cruise Nights, the car show held on Tuesdays; and ArtWalk held Sundays in the summer.

The board presented an award to Jim Perna of Long Island Picture Frame and Art Gallery for his support of ArtWalk. He held special events in support of ArtWalk, attracting more visitors to attend the event held on the first Sunday of the month during the summer.

The award was presented by Chamber President Dottie Simons, Vice President Walter Imperatore and Secretary Michele Browner. Treasurer John DeLillo came late after attending another event.

“You’ve been framed,” said Browner as they handed Perna a framed certificate thanking him for his work.

The fundraiser helps pay for the cost of the snowflakes, wreaths and other festive decorations in the hamlet. Tina Mazzarella of Red Tomato was the caterer and announced, “It’s a Thanksgiving dinner.”

The food was outstanding, each side dish was complex and flavorful; together they presented all the favorites of Thanksgiving, with subtle twists to add to the “aha” experience. There were no “false notes” in the symphony of flavors. Dessert was mini-pumpkin pie tarts and chocolate pudding tarts. Testa Wines donated the red and the white, as Billy Joel would say. The Oyster Bay Brewery provided one of their special beers for the tasting. The hors d’oeuvres included a tray of crudities with hummus.

Kudos To The Crowd

There were congratulations to Daniel MacKenzie, newly elected to the Nassau County Legislature: he proved to have a good sense of humor. A “local boy,” he sat at a table of Oyster Bay High School alumni proving it’s a great school. Meredith Maus was also congratulated for being named the executive director of the Oyster Bay Main Street Association. She will have new duties added to her basic job of being their project manager.

Simons also deserves congratulations. She arrived with an armful of packages, including a small Christmas tree that she placed on the bar, in a delightful alcove off the dining room. She also provided poinsettias to add to calla lilies provided by Tina, for the table decorations.

Chamber Administrative Assistant Shari Cope-Dembowski said that Mill Neck Manor was a great place for a party. “It was a great crowd. Everyone enjoyed sitting down to eat and chat.” They are a fun group.

Chamber Chat

Dawn Riley, of Oakcliff Sailing Center, has been flying all over the world for her job: her latest trip was 14 hours in the air. A shorter flight was going home to Michigan for Halloween. She told the story of her 3-year-old nephew who had to be persuaded to go out trick-or-treating. When he got both a “trick-or-treat” and a goodie bag at the first house, he was convinced. “This is awesome,” he said to her.

Bob Santos is a chamber director, and represents the Oyster Bay-East Norwich Youth Athletic Association. The baseball fan said, “I love working with the people on the board, as well as working with the chamber.”

What will he do now that he is getting high-fives from community residents for his tenacity in creating the multi-sport fields at TR Park? He said he might consider taking on the vacant land the OB-EN school district owns on Route 106 in East Norwich. He said there is enough room for it to be developed as a sports field while allowing the environmentally sensitive areas alone.

Browner told the group, “There’s a lot of energy here. We’re more than happy to promote your business.” She added that there are sign up sheets for the Hand Stitched Hamlet project. The chamber’s involvement is evident by their promoting the ribbon cuttings of new businesses including, most recently, Pro Sports and James Guy. The latter is the new store opened by board member Catherine Drabin of Chrison & Bellina and named for her father James Guy. She said the men’s store will feature men’s weekend wear. It will carry a limited number of clothing lines, not like her other store which offers a large range of items from women’s clothing, children’s items, pocketbooks, jewelry, china and glassware.

The next big chamber project is Small Business Saturday, Nov. 30.

The 2013 Board of Directors of the OBEN Chamber include: Austin Azzaretto, Robert L. Brusca, Esq., Bernie DelBello, Susan Dembo, Catherine Drabin, Walter Imperatore,

Tina Mazzarella, John McEvoy, Chuck Panetta, Dawn Riley,Bob Santos, Dave Waldo  and Fran Walker. For information call 516-922-6464. The chamber is looking for new board members. If you are available to meet once a month at 7:30 a.m., agree to chair an event, and have great ideas to promote the local area, you may be just what they are looking for. The position is for three years. To apply please send your bio to OBENchamber@gmail.