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.
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 Lt. Col Bradley Hebing, who was in attendance and Master Sergeant Eddie Carr. What a great group of young people.
And the Imperial Dragon Hombu Dojo located on Jamaica Avenue under the leadership of Kyoshi Myron were here for their 31st year. The musical groups along our avenue were just fantastic. Heartbreak Station, who have been with us for years now, and our two new groups, Solid State Band and Plastic Soul, are great musicians who had people dancing.
Our country-western Group this year was the Mary Lamont Band, and they really got our toes tapping and our feet dancing as at all of our GWDC Wonderful Woodhaven Street Festivals- this year more than ever there was dancing in the streets, quite literally.
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 as they have been for the last twenty or more years.
Our GWDC booth distributed over 300 small American flags, red, white and blue pencils, “I Love Woodhaven” and Woodhaven Fire Department decals. Also, in keeping with the country-western music, cowboy hats could be seen worn by the 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-for-profit groups who were given their spots free of charge. The NYPD and Fire Department were recruiting future firefighters and officers amongst the crowd, and many city agencies were distributing information, give-a-ways, and offering free medical testing.
Our Jamaica Avenue restaurants welcomed in those that wanted seated service. Those participating were our own Pan Ugo Bakery, Beky Bakery, Avenue Diner, Mistura Pervana, Guadalupana Meat Market, El Puerto Mexicano and Arreola’s Grocery. All the restaurants on our avenue were very busy.
Also the businesses, including Karako Suit Warehouse, the DeSano Chiropractic and Vitality Center, the Haven Hallmark Card Store, Woodhaven Pharmacy, Allstate Insurance, Harry’s Grocery, Dr. Castelli, Mayo Karate, R. & S. Army/Navy, 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 Woodhavenite David Cronin and the reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance by little George and Manny Xenakis.
Our elected officials, Honorable Joseph P. Addabbo, our New York State Senator, Honorable Michael G. Miller, our New York State Assemblyman, Honorable Eric A. Ulrich and Honorable Elizabeth S. Crowley, our New York City Council members, and Barbara Baruch of the office of Honorable John C. Liu, our New York City Comptroller, were on stage and they were introduced, all being good longtime friends of our Woodhaven community.
Each spoke glowingly of the Greater Woodhaven Development Corporation and our great Woodhaven. The GWDC then presented a special award. Our honoree was our own Woodhaven Business Improvement District President Mathew Xenakis.
This award was in recognition of his dedication, volunteerism and leadership through these many years. He received a plaque and his wife was presented with a bouquet of roses and they were accompanied by his sons George and Manny who wore cowboy hats proudly.
What a great day with a great honoree. It was a wonderful day, and again the best street fair in Queens! To all of our Woodhaven’s Jamaica Avenue stores and businesses, all of our local organizations, the unique vendors and most of all the wonderful old and young, new happy homeowners and residents in attendance, a big “Thank You.” (And if you don’t live here, consider moving into our little Woodhaven.)
Also, to our sponsors: Community Federal Savings Bank, P.C. Richards, New York State Lottery, Woodhaven Business Improvement District, Illuminations by Arnold, Rubie’s Costumes, our longtime sponsor, Logan Bus Company, Queens County Savings Bank, Walker Funeral Home, Ohlert-Ruggiere, and our excellent local newspapers (in alphabetical order) The Chronicle, The Forum, The Gazette, Leader/Observer, Queens Courier, The Times Newsweekly, and Queens Tribune. Also, the New York Mets, Health First, and Dee and Dee Stores.
This year, our 32nd year, our Wonderful Woodhaven Street Festival was again a safe family day. The GWDC staff thanks our supportive Board of Directors, our President Stephen Esposito, 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 our 102nd Precinct officers and Deputy Inspector Armando DeLeon, who kept us safe that day. Also a big thank you to GWDC President Stephen Esposito and GWDC board and staff for my beautiful bouquet of stunning flowers. It was so thoughtful of you all.
Most of all, though, we thank you, the residents of Woodhaven, for you made this day the success it was, proving once again that Woodhaven is strong, stable and safe. To you and all of our dignitaries, thank you for coming out for your and our community.
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.