So, the entertainment program was on. The acrobatics of the Malaysian Lion Dancers were great and show stopping. 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 Lt. Col. Ralph Gracia and Master Sergeant Eddie Carr.
Later in the day, the Greater Woodhaven Development Corporation (GWDC) honored Gracia and Carr with plaques from Capo’s Trophies, and presented a bouquet for Carr’s wife, Pamela.
The Imperial Dragon Hombu Dojo located on Jamaica Avenue under the leadership of Kyoshi Myron were here for the 34th year. Our musical groups along the avenue - Solid State Band, Plastic Soul, Syndicate Musical Groups and Ernie on his guitar playing from our own Neir's Tavern - really rocked.
They had people dancing, even the little children, 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 festivals.
The theme again this year was “Patriotic Red, White and Blue,” and American flags were flying proudly along Jamaica Avenue from Dexter Court to 100th Street. Our GWDC booth distributed over 300 small American flags because we have always been a patriotic community, flag lapel pins, and red, white and blue flag keychains, as well as “I Love Woodhaven” and Woodhaven Fire Department decals.
The start and the end of the festival was marked by two bright lights strung across 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 officers from the crowd, and many city agencies were distributing information and offering free medical testing. Our Avenue restaurants also participated.
Our formal Ceremony for the day was held at 3 p.m.. Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez who presented us with an American flag, State Senator Joseph Addabbo, Councilman Eric A. Ulrich and Deputy Inspector Henry Sautner of the 102nd Precinct were on stage. Each spoke glowingly of the Greater Woodhaven Development Corporation and Woodhaven.
It was a wonderful day. To all of our stores and businesses, local organizations, unique vendors, our guy George who provided the rides, and most of all the residents in attendance, a big “thank you.”
Also a “thank you” to our sponsors, including our 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, and our excellent local newspapers, The Chronicle, The Forum, Queens Gazette, Leader/Observer, Queens Courier, Times Newsweekly, and Queens Tribune.
Also, much tanks to the New York Mets, HealthFirst, Resorts World Casino, Scaturros Supermarket, Ed Rowand and Son, and DII Stores. A big thank you goes to our great 102nd Precinct officers who kept us safe that day.
The GWDC staff thanks our supportive board of directors, President Stephen Esposito, hardworking part-time staff of 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 to the GWDC board and staff for my beautiful bouquet of flowers from Park Place Florist. 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 you came out for our community.
Wear your American flag pins, fly our American flag proudly above all others. May God bless our armed forces, may God bless our disabled veterans and may God bless America.