Events

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The annual apple festival organized by members of the Stony Brook Community Church is a child-friendly event. Festival-goers shopped, dined, enjoyed music, played games, created art, watched demonstrations and learned about volunteer opportunities in the community. An annual event spanning more than 50 years, it is a family affair.

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The third annual Port Jefferson Dragon Boat Race Festival took place Sept. 17 in Harborfront Park and Port Jefferson Harbor. FDNY United won the competition, though more than 300 total medals were awarded to various participants according to the Port Jefferson Chamber of Commerce, who organized the event. Hundreds came out to enjoy the races and festivities, which included performances, food vendors, music and more.

A steady stream of people enjoy the Gallery North Outdoor Art Show & Music Festival. Photo by Lloyd Newman

For more than half a century the Gallery North Outdoor Art Show & Music Festival has been drawing crowds to North Country Road in Setauket. Last weekend was no exception, with a steady stream of visitors on both days.

John Deng received the top honor in the Photography category and also the award for Best in Show.

Local artists Robin Clonts, Flo Kemp, Dawn Mohrmann and Mary Jane Van Zeijts won ribbons as awards or honorable mention in their respective categories.

Flo and Karen Kemp show their ribbons. Photo by Jeff Foster
Flo and Karen Kemp show their ribbons. Photo by Jeff Foster

Local craftsperson Dana Neger took the top award in the Jewelry Design category.

The more than 100 exhibitors this year included a broader variety of techniques and arts and crafts and painters, according to Gallery North Executive Director Judith Levy.

All in all, Levy said she was pleased with how the weekend went, despite a few glitches. “When we arrived before 6 a.m. on Saturday, strong winds and rain had upturned some of the booths. There was water everywhere,” she said. “But thanks to Keith Sanford (of Three Village Lawn & Garden) all was put right again.”

In addition to the art, there were live musical performances as well, with chairs available to relax while listening.

A 9/11 tribute and flag raising on Sunday at 1 p.m. was a joint venture with the Three Village Historical Society located across the street. President John Yantz offered remarks, Roberta Fabbiano sang “God Bless America,” local politicians spoke, and as the crowd sang the national anthem, the flag rose into a clear blue sky on the historical society flagpole. “It was really very moving. I’m glad we did it,” Levy said.

Lots of children visited the gallery’s community art center to create monoprints, and  adults decorated wall tiles for the gallery’s ongoing Make Your Mark fundraiser. Visit the Gallery North website at www.gallerynorth.org for more information about this project.

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Paul Casciano is Port Jefferson’s new interim superintendent. Photo from Casciano
Paul Casciano is Port Jefferson’s new interim superintendent. Photo from Casciano

The new interim superintendent of the Port Jefferson School District will be attending a meet and greet Sept. 13 from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at Edna Louise Spear Elementary School hosted by the board of education.

Paul Casciano was hired to fill the position in June and will be available to meet parents and community members ahead of the district’s board of education meeting for September.

The school is located at 500 Scraggy Hill Road in Port Jefferson.

Port Jefferson Village snatched ownership of the Village Cup back from John T. Mather Memorial Hospital at the 7th annual Village Cup Regatta boat race on Sept. 10 in Port Jefferson Harbor.

The race, which is presented by the Port Jefferson Yacht Club, features about a dozen competing boats representing either the village or Mather Hospital, and is held for a good cause.

The event has raised more than $300,000 since its inception for Mather’s Palliative Medicine Program and the Lustgarten Foundation, which funds pancreatic cancer research.

The hospital held the cup entering the 2016 race, though the village has now won four of the last six years.

File photo by Giselle Barkley A Dragon Boat team races to the finish at last year’s event. File photo by Giselle Barkley

Dragons will roar once again as the Greater Port Jefferson Chamber of Commerce hosts the 3rd annual Port Jefferson Dragon Boat Race Festival in the village on Saturday, Sept. 17 from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. The free event, which will be held at the Mayor Jeanne Garant Harborfront Park, 101 E. Broadway and the Port Jefferson Inner harbor, is anticipated each year with great fanfare.

The festival is the brainchild of Barbara Ransome, director of operations at the chamber, who attended a dragon boat festival in Cape May, New Jersey, a few years ago.

“This year’s ‘Dragons’ has 32 teams, up from last year of 22,” said Ransome. “We have brought in new Asian entertainment and have configured the layout of the park differently to accommodate all the new team encampments and the entertainment. The event is rain or shine and will lots of great recreational racing competition, where we will be giving out over 300 medals to our winnning team paddlers!”

Opening ceremonies begin at 8:30 a.m. with Erin and Kiera Pipe singing the national anthem and a performance by the Asian Veterans Color Guard. Buddhist Monk Bhante Nanda of the Long Island Buddhist Meditation Center will hold the Blessing of the Dragon and “Eye Dotting” ceremony to kick off the races and there will be a special appearance of the festival mascot Dragon sponsored by the Harbor Ballet Theatre.

With the first race scheduled at 9 a.m., boat teams will compete in a 250-meter course in four dragon boats provided by the High Five Dragon Boat Company and will include representatives from local hospitals, civic groups, businesses and cultural organizations. Each team will be made up of 20 “paddlers,” one steersman and one drummer. Heats will run all day (all teams will race three times) with a culmination of an awards ceremony at the end of the day.

Spectators can easily view the race course from the park’s edge and pier. In addition to the races, there will be a day-long festival featuring numerous performances including the famous Lion Dance, martial arts, dancing and singing. New this year is the performance of Bian Lian, the art of Chinese mask changing. In addition there will be a performance of the Erhu (a Chinese two-stringed fiddle).

Various Asian delicacies will be offered from food vendors including spring rolls, pot stickers, pork buns, sushi, cold noodles, bubble tea and fried dumplings. There will be many activities for children including the painting of “dragon” eggs, visiting with real dragons, crafts and even a fun photo booth to create a fun memory keepsake!

Adults can try their hand at traditional Chinese painting and calligraphy and enjoy massages and Reiki by the Port Jeff Salt Cave along with chair massages by Panacea Massage & Wellness Studio of Port Jeff.

Sponsors include the Confucius Institute of Stony Brook, LongIsland.com, People’s United Bank, Times Beacon Record Newspapers, News12, ServPro of Port Jefferson, Maggio Environmental Services, New York Community Bank, Stony Brook University, Tritec, Suffolk County National Bank, OCA Asian Pacific American Advocates — Long Island Chapter and Asian-American Cultural Circle of Unity.

Free shuttle buses provided by the Port Jeff Jitney will make frequent stops at the Port Jefferson Train Station, CVS parking lot on Barnum Avenue and the corner of Belle Terre Road and Myrtle Avenue to bring eventgoers to the Port Jefferson Village Center until 5:30 p.m.

Bring a blanket or lawn chair and come enjoy the festivities. For more information, call 631-473-1414 or visit www.portjeffdragonfest.com.

FESTIVAL SCHEDULE:

A dragon greets visitors at last year’s festival. Photo by Elyse Sutton
A dragon greets visitors at last year’s festival. Photo by Elyse Sutton

7:45 a.m. Team captains meeting on the Great Lawn at Harborfront Park

8:30 a.m. Opening ceremonies 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Food vendors, crafts, children activities, photo booth pictures, cultural/educational/nonprofit vendor tables

9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Dragon Boat races in the Port Jefferson Inner Harbor

9 a.m. First races begin

9 a.m. DDKY Korean Traditional Drums

9:30 a.m. Long Island Chinese Dance Group

10 a.m. Sound of Long Island Chorus, Chinese classic, modern singing, dances

10:30 to 11 a.m. Performance by Taiko Tides — Japanese percussion instruments, drumming

11:15 a.m. Performance by the Stony Brook Youth Choir — Peking Opera, Chorus and Chinese Yoyo

11:30 a.m. North Shore Youth Music Ensemble

12 to 1 p.m. Lunch break (no racing)

12 to 12:45 p.m. Parade of the Team T-Shirt Contest and Best Drummer Costume Contest. Location: Show Mobile

12:45 p.m. Authentic Shaolin Kung-Fu Lion Dance, Kung Fu and Tai Chi demonstration

1 p.m. Races continue

2 p.m. Chinese Umbrella Dance performed by Alice and Emily Snyder

2:30 p.m. DDKY Korean Traditional Drums

3 p.m. Bian Lian performance (art of Chinese mask changing) and performance of the Erhu (Chinese two-stringed fiddle)

3:30 p.m. Song Island Performing Art Group

4 p.m. United Martial Arts Center — Japanese Karate and Ninjutsu

4:30 p.m. Performance by Taiko Tides — Japanese percussion instruments, drumming

4:45 p.m. Last Dragon Boat race

5 to 5:30 p.m. Closing ceremonies and awards

A woman Nicole sits on the grass in Port Jefferson remembering those who were lost to and those who survived heroin addiction during the third annual Lights of Hope event on Aug. 31. Photo by Nora Milligan

Rebecca Anzel

When Daniel Scofield died in 2011 from a heroin overdose, his mother Dori decided to do something.

“I wasn’t going to keep [his death] under the carpet,” she said. “I just said, ‘I’ve got to bring this out into the world. My son was my life and I’m not going to bury his addiction with him. I have to help others. I have to bring awareness.’”

In April 2014, the founder of Save-A-Pet Animal Rescue and Adoption Center started Dan’s Foundation for Recovery, a not-for-profit organization that provides assistance to those suffering from alcohol or substance abuse. The group uses its donations to help an addict get help — it assists addicts in covering insurance copayments, treatment and travel costs to recovery centers in other states.

Scofield co-hosted Lights of Hope on Aug. 31 at Memorial Park in Port Jefferson. The event, which is in its third year, brought together families and friends to remember those who died from a drug overdose and to support those who are recovering from drug addiction.

Lit luminaires light up the night during the third annual Lights of Hope event in Port Jefferson on Aug. 31. Photo by Nora Milligan
Lit luminaires light up the night during the third annual Lights of Hope event in Port Jefferson on Aug. 31. Photo by Nora Milligan

The event’s other co-host was Public Relations Director Debbie Gross Longo of the New York Chapter of Magnolia New Beginnings, an advocacy, education, support and addiction resource group.

“Each year, unfortunately the crowd gets bigger,” Longo said. “We lose about 129 kids a day throughout the United States. This is something that is an epidemic. It has gotten out of control and there’s no reason for it.”

Longo’s son was a soccer player at Ward Melville High School. He was so talented, she said, he was being scouted by colleges. That was before he tore his quadricep.

The doctors at John T. Mather Memorial Hospital in Port Jefferson prescribed him oxycodone, and he became addicted. The price per pill of oxycodone is expensive — about $45 each, Longo said. So he switched to heroin, a much less expensive but more potent drug. Before long, his personality began to change.

“The changes happened pretty quickly until I couldn’t ignore it any longer, and that’s when he went to rehab,” she said. “It didn’t work the first time, it didn’t work the second time and it didn’t work the third time.”

Longo said her son is now living in a sober community in Florida helping other addicts get into recovery.

According to a 2015 New York State Opioid Poisoning, Overdose and Prevention report, there were 337 heroin-related deaths in Suffolk County between 2009 and 2013 — more than any other county in the state during that period.

“We come together to celebrate the lives they lived, we’re celebrating the recovery and we’re celebrating the people who are still struggling. We will never give up hope. Where there is life, there is hope.”

—Tracey Budd

In a brief speech at the Lights for Hope event, Scofield stressed the importance of helping those addicted to the drug get into recovery. Earlier that day, she said, she helped a young girl who lost her mother get into the Long Island Center for Recovery in Hampton Bays as well as three other young people get into a rehabilitation facility in Arizona.

In starting Dan’s Foundation, Scofield “wanted mostly to help kids that sought treatment now — not 10 days from now,” she said. “In 20 minutes, they’re gone. You have a small window of opportunity to help them and you’ve got to do it when you can do it.”

Scofield’s son David, 28, went through heroin recovery. His mom said her sons were best friends and they did everything together, including using heroin.

“I struggled with this disease for a long time,” he said to those who attended the Lights for Hope event. “I found a way to live sober. I found a different way to live my life.”

Event attendees decorated white paper bags with the name of a loved one who died from heroin or who recovered from it, and a message. Toward the end of the evening, a candle was placed inside each bag, and they were arranged in a large circle around the cannon in the park.

“We come together to celebrate the lives they lived, we’re celebrating the recovery and we’re celebrating the people who are still struggling,” Tracey Budd, a Rocky Point resident and founder of North Shore Drug Awareness Advocates, said. “We will never give up hope. Where there is life, there is hope.”

Budd’s son Kevin died in September 2012 from a heroin overdose. Her daughter Breanna has been drug-free since May 2014.

She said the stigma of addiction has changed dramatically since 2008 at the height of her son’s struggle with heroin. There is now a community of families that support each other through a child’s struggle with addiction or an addict’s death.

Tracey Budd, a Rocky Point resident and founder of North Shore Drug Awareness Advocates, displays her luminaire in memory of her son Kevin during the third annual Lights of Hope event in Port Jefferson on Aug. 31. Photo by Nora Milligan
Tracey Budd, a Rocky Point resident and founder of North Shore Drug Awareness Advocates, displays her luminaire in memory of her son Kevin during the third annual Lights of Hope event in Port Jefferson on Aug. 31. Photo by Nora Milligan

“It’s sad to say, but when you feel the hug of another mother who’s lost a child, even if you’ve never met, no words need to be spoken,” Budd said. “It’s a connection that we wish we didn’t have, but we do, and it’s actually pretty amazing.”

Middle Island resident Hugh Rhodus said the worst part of the heroin problem on Long Island is going to a funeral for a young person. He recently attended the funeral of a friend’s 24-year-old nephew.

“Going to a kid’s funeral is the hardest thing, but unfortunately we do it all the time,” he said. “It’s so hard to do. Kids that age laying in a casket is awful.”

Rhodus and his wife helped their daughter Amanda through her 13-year struggle with heroin. He said when they first tried to get her help, they took her to Mather Hospital, where they waited for a couple of hours after speaking with a nurse in a “room in the back.” Eventually, they were told to go to a hospital in Nassau County because Mather Hospital was unable to help Amanda.

“It’s your daughter, she’s sick, she’s a drug addict and that’s how we found out how powerful the stigma was,” Rhodus said. “We fought for years to get her in and out of treatment — it was tough. It was really tough.”

Legislator Sarah Anker (D-Mount Sinai) praised families and recovering addicts for not giving up.

“We can’t give up,” she said. “Everybody has to be engaged and participate because it is our lives and our children’s lives and our loved ones lives that’s on the line.”

The audience at Cinema Arts Centre enjoys a scene during the horror movie marathon. Photo by Kevin Redding

By Kevin Redding

Living corpses, seductive vampires, hungry werewolves, mutant children, body-swapping aliens, a book that unleashes demons and evil spirits, and a whole lot of blood. 

Projected on the big screen in beautiful 35mm prints, all these things brought great joy and camaraderie to a roomful of strangers last Saturday night, Aug. 27, at Cinema Arts Centre in Huntington.

A total of 115 eager horror fans packed the theater — fully equipped with pillows, blankets, snacks, and plenty of caffeine — ready to take on the 12th annual Pay To Get Out Horror Movie Marathon that started at 10 p.m. and didn’t finish until a little after 8:30 a.m. the next morning. Five movie titles are released to the public, with the sixth kept a secret until you’re in.

People from all walks of life were huddled together with an instant, unifying bond: a love for all things scary.

At 10 p.m., there was a buzz in the air as everybody settled into their seats. Just before the marathon started, Michael and Nina Ciani of Retro Picture Show, co-presenters of the marathon, announced three raffle ticket winners and presented each of them with a vinyl soundtrack for Lucio Fulci’s “The House By The Cemetery,” one of the better and more intense entries of the night.

The movies ranged from schlocky and ridiculous fun with “The Hidden” to a little bit dull ‘The Company of Wolves” to downright scary David Cronenberg’s “The Brood”, and I loved every second of it. When there wasn’t laughing and hollering at cheesy acting and unintentionally funny moments, there was cheering when the protagonists escaped their monsters’ clutches and gasping at grisly kills. We, as an audience, were treated to a reel of classic trailers that ran before the movies, pertaining to the theme of each one. Before “The Hidden,” we got John Carpenter’s “They Live;” before “The Brood,” we got “Videodrome;” and before “The Company of Wolves,” we got Joe Dante’s “The Howling.”

The big question of “what the final mystery film would be?” hung over the theater all night.

As we took our seats one last time at around 7:10 a.m., we were all quiet with anticipation.

As soon as the black screen filled with fog and a few seconds of musical score blared, the theater erupted, instantly recognizing the Sam Raimi classic “Evil Dead II,” perhaps the greatest movie choice to be experienced by this kind of crowd in a theater. Bruce Campbell’s demon-induced pratfalls were never more exhilarating.

Throughout the marathon, the film prints were scratchy and crackly in the best ways possible, only enhancing the atmosphere. But no print was more fitting than the one of “Evil Dead II,” which warped and fizzled out a few different times early on as characters were undergoing the wrath of the Book of the Dead. An audience member put it best when he shouted out, “This film is possessed!”

It’s a testament to the love and passion for the horror genre that almost everybody in attendance,  including myself, stuck it out to the end of the marathon with a healthy dose of energy and excitement intact.

The lineup of the Veterans Comedy Assault Team. Photo by Bob Savage

Already working with homeless veterans, when VFW Santora/Bonacasa Memorial Post 400 Commander John Rago was approached to start a comedy act to benefit veterans, he said the decision was a no-brainer.

Under Project9line, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that helps veterans reintegrate back into civilian life and helps those suffering from post traumatic stress disorder, founder Patrick Donohue came up with the idea and had veteran comedians come in and teach a class to other veterans on how to perform and write his or her own material.

In March of 2015, the Veterans Comedy Assault Team performed for the first time at the Sayville VFW Post 433. According to Rago, despite it being a snowy evening, they had to turn people away because of how packed the venue was. That’s when the group realized that they had something special.

Patrick Donohue, found of Project 9 Line, gets the crowd going. Photo by Bob Savage
Patrick Donohue, found of Project 9 Line, gets the crowd going. Photo by Bob Savage

“I thought it was going to be one and done, but we had so much fun doing it and got such a big response that we realized we had a good product that we could keep going with,” Rago said.

The group performed a few more shows and held another training class this January before performing at the Centereach VFW Post 4927 — a bigger venue was needed due to another sold-out show.

One of the comedians, “Tugboat” Manny Erias, who performs his own stand-up act three nights a week, helped the team get into the Broadway Comedy Club in New York City.

“I kept saying, ‘We’re a block and a half away from the Ed Sullivan Theater,’” Rago joked excitedly. “Soon. One day.”

The group also performed at Comix Mohegan Sun, a comedy club on the grounds of the casino in Connecticut, and most recently held a benefit show at the Moose Lodge in Mount Sinai after Rago was approached by a veteran and recent divorcee with three children, who was on the verge of becoming homeless.

“I moved here from Florida and went through a divorce,” said the mother, who asked to remain anonymous. “I used all my savings. I tried to do the best I could. It became difficult.”

She reached out to the Supportive Services for Veteran Families program under the United States Department of Veterans Affairs and was turned away because she exhausted all of her resources. She said the VA told her because she wasn’t homeless yet, there was nothing else they could do for her, and that even if she was to become homeless, assistance was not guaranteed.

Audience member Elizabeth Trabold laughs during the show. Photo by Bob Savage
Audience member Elizabeth Trabold laughs during the show. Photo by Bob Savage

That’s when she called Rago’s office at the Suffolk County United Veterans Association for Mental Health and Wellness, where he is an outreach coordinator. When he heard about her situation, falling behind three months on her rent, he thought holding a comedy show to benefit her was the perfect solution.

So Rago made a call to Ron Romanska, who used to work at the Suffolk County Veterans Services Agency as an officer and is now involved in the Coalition of Veterans Organizations and a member of the Moose Lodge.

“I told him the story and that I wanted to do a comedy show and he said, ‘Okay, you want the Moose Lodge? You’ve got it.’ Just like that,” Rago said.

During the comedy show Aug. 27, which more than 100 people attended, the Veterans Comedy Assault Team raised nearly $2,500. The Moose Lodge chipped in $500 and the owner also handed Rago a personal check for $100, on top of the raffle prizes being donated from different stores and businesses.

“There’s nothing like making somebody laugh — it’s so much fun,” Rago said of the events. “Guys in the audience who suffer from PTSD tell us that for the hour and a half they had not a care in the world because they were laughing. It’s therapy.”

It’s also therapy for those involved, like Erias, a retired U.S. Navy Reservist who suffers from anxiety and depression, and goes to the Association of Mental Health and Wellness camps for help coping with his condition.

“We donate our time, money, energy and resources into this and it’s a great success,” he said. “There’s nothing better than helping someone else out by being able to do what we love. It’s the best feeling in the world. And you do it without looking for a return. I’m broke … I’m going for disability, my mother just passed away and I have so many things working against me to keep me down, but I go up there, and for me, it’s a coping skill. I make people laugh, and forget about life for a while.”

By Rebecca Anzel

Melonie smiled as she watched her son Justin-Joseph, or J.J. for short, land several backflips on the trampolines at West Hills Day Camp in Huntington on Saturday. The activities at Suffolk Aspergers/Autism Support and Information’s first annual Family Fun Day — zip lines, face painting, sand art and a water slide, in addition to the trampoline park — were the perfect outlet for J.J.’s vast supply of energy.

J.J. is on the autism spectrum — Melonie is, too. “People look at us differently,” she said. “For me, it’s important for J.J. not to have that painful experience.”

SASI, a not-for-profit support group that provides special needs families with helpful resources, provides that sense of community Melonie wants for J.J. Founded in the living room of co-founder Stephanie Mendelson on Dec. 4 of last year, SASI has grown from 12 parents to over 700 families throughout Suffolk County and across the rest of Long Island in eight months.

Co-founder Priscilla Arena said Family Fun Day was meant to be an event for children on the autism spectrum to have carefree fun, and a way for families to bond.

“[I’m excited] for our kids to make friends — to see them smile. Here, they’re part of one community.”

—Priscilla Arena

“[I’m excited] for our kids to make friends — to see them smile,” she said, tearing up. “Here, they’re part of one community. They are the popular kids in SASI.”

Mendelson and Arena, both from Mount Sinai, have children on the autism spectrum. They found there was a lack of resources on Long Island for families and formed SASI as a support group to fill that void.

“Parents found themselves lost, confused, hopeless, alienated, isolated and alone,” Arena said. “SASI created an environment where they could come together and share their stories and experiences.”

To its members, SASI provides information about available resources, advocacy, financial and emotional support. On the last Friday of every month, the group hosts speakers at John T. Mather Memorial Hospital in Port Jefferson — so far, families have heard from a representative from Parent to Parent, a state planning attorney, a Medicaid broker and a parent advocate for education.

The group’s first speaker, special education advocate Danielle Brooks, was at Family Fun Day giving free advice to families. She said SASI is a special organization because it built a caring network for families in a short period of time. The event, she said, was a great opportunity for children to have fun in a safe environment.

SASI also hosts a birthday party club for its member’s children, who range in ages from kids just shy of 3 years old to adults in their late 20s. Arena said children on the autism spectrum have difficulty making friends, so sometimes there are not many others to invite to a child’s birthday party. The group is also working on a lending library, which will help members borrow books donated to the organization; a job skills program; life coach program and blue pages resource handbook, which would help parents find services they need across the island.

Legislator Sarah Anker (D-Mount Sinai) said she is “thrilled and excited” that Arena and Mendelson founded SASI. Instead of complaining about a lack of resources, she said, the SASI co-founders work hard to address issues.

“I think SASI will be able to address problems and advocate with a stronger, louder voice.”

—Sarah Anker

“I’m really supportive and beyond happy that Priscilla has taken this concern and made it into a centerpiece to gather around — creating this organization so people have a place to go for information and resources,” Anker said. “I think SASI will be able to address problems and advocate with a stronger, louder voice.”

The group has also gained the attention of U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley), who is sponsoring a bill to ensure Americans with disabilities have access to necessary health-care equipment.

“In Congress, one of my top priorities is ensuring that all Americans with disabilities have the resources they need to live independently and happily,” Zeldin wrote in a statement. “I thank the Suffolk Aspergers/Autism Support and Information group for their work in our community to help children and adults with disabilities.”

Family Fun Day was held at West Hills Day Camp in Huntington, a facility famous for its autism-friendly Gersh Academy. The facility donated the space for the event, which Anker said had about 800 attendees.

In addition to the attractions, the event also had refreshments from Crazy Crepes, Mr. Softee and Kona Ice. Families could purchase t-shirts or raffle tickets to win one of many donated baskets.

The event was just the first of many more to come, Arena said. “We’re new, but we’re just getting started.”

For Melonie, Family Fun Day was the perfect way to spend time with her son.

“It’s everything to see smiles on all the kids faces,” Melonie said. “They don’t get this a lot.”