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Community spirit showcased at 49th annual Huckleberry Frolic in East Rockaway

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About 500 people flocked to Memorial Park on Atlantic Avenue on June 9 for East Rockaway’s 49th annual Huckleberry Frolic. The amount of money raised had not been calculated as of press time, but will go toward the Grist Mill Museum on Woods Avenue in East Rockaway.

“My favorite part of planning this event is falling back on my experience as a caterer and party planner to coordinate the many people it takes to make this an enjoyable as well as profitable day for the Grist Mill Museum,” second-year event organizer Charlene Fried said.

For the first time, the Frolic was a two-day event, starting with a barbecue and concert by Witches Brew on June 8 and culminating in the daylong festivities on Saturday. Fried said the concert was a success, and added that the new vendors and activities were a hit among attendees, as were the returning features from past events.

The Frolic began with a parade that included a performance by Glor Na nGael Pipes & Drums. Tents lined the park, offering attendees a chance to browse items for purchase, such as toys, videos and books, and to participate in games and activities.

During the event, there were shuttle buses to transport Frolickers from parking fields to the festivities. There were 18 sponsors participating in the event, Fried said, and she also had help from East Rockaway High School and Centre Avenue Elementary School students.

Attractions at the Frolic included Aardvark Amusement rides, a video arcade bus, cornhole, a ping-pong toss, a water gun game, a ring toss contest and a money booth. There were also several new food trucks, including Empanada Queen, Good Eats Grill and Cheezy Pete’s! New entertainment additions included Lynbrook’s Starz on Broadway Dance School, the Grace Thunderettes Twirling Show Squad and student performers.

The East Rockaway High class of 2021 also created a booth of games to raise money for initiatives for their class. Fried said she would like to see all the classes from East Rockaway and Lynbrook High School do the same next year.

Fried said the event would not be possible without everyone who helped her including the village board and staff, the Department of Public Works, the police and fire departments, the Grist Mill Committee, all the volunteers and her friends and family. She said she is getting ready for next year’s event, which she added she hopes will be bigger, better and longer.

“A big thank you to all,” Fried said. “Looking forward to 2019’s 50th anniversary.”