By Robert Levine
That’s the way it is in Cherry Grove. Year after year we have the “traditional” summer season. First with the Flea Market, our Homecoming Queen election, the PAWS benefit, Pride Parade, Invasion … then before you know it we are at the End of Season Ball. But let’s first talk about volleyball.
Known as the Cherry Bowl, the Grovettes versus the Copettes game is always the first Wednesday in August, which this year was Aug. 1. The ferries arrived with throngs of people ready to spend the day in Cherry Grove. The Suffolk County Police Department, supporting their Copettes team, arrived with many friends. The noontime parade includes a 40-piece marching band that, of course, includes bagpipers, all of them dressed in their best authentic Scottish kilts and berets. Soon the game was on, played on the field in town between the ocean and the bay.
The Grovettes held onto their title from last year, winning 25-17. Team Captain Sue Panzer coached her team with skill. Mark Atton, who founded the game in 1980, is still playing strong. Monika, Denise, Jim, Ed, Sam, Tara, Colleen, Marc, Paul, Andy, and Franko all did us proud. Doreen was a wonderful referee. Then of course there were the glamorous Grove Cheerleaders Holly Day, Porsche, and the girls.
Afterward both teams went to the Ice Palace to celebrate. The Ice Palace, along with Pride Embroidery, sponsors this great event. The weather was perfect and the pool was overflowing with people having fun. Porsche gave a knockout singing performance. It was another big day in Cherry Grove. Only days later Sue Panzer did it all again leading Cherry’s to victory at the Lez Volleyball Tournament on Saturday, Aug. 10. (See the paper’s full coverage of this event on page 36 of this paper.)
The Cherry Grove Art Show was another success. Sponsored by the Arts Project, and organized by Dennis McConke, 20 local artists participated in the exhibit at the Community House over the weekend of Aug. 4. A raffle was drawn at the closing hour. I was one of six who had a lucky number, winning a photograph from Diane Quero!
A happy birthday to Matthew George, Michael Moran, George McGarvey, and Todd “Mary” McMullen – all who celebrate in August. Michael Goddard and Shane Hoffman had Shane’s brother, Spencer, and Spencer’s girlfriend, Sarah Davidson, as their houseguests from Brooklyn. William Loschert and George Maher spent three weeks in Cherry Grove as they have in the past. They live in London, where I enjoyed dinner with them last winter. They had Bernward Mertens as their guest from Cologne, Germany. Jack Quinn and Curtis Strohl are on a 10-day Atlantis cruise from Rome, making stops throughout Italy, and then Greece.
Diane Romano and Patricia Goff just returned from visiting family in Plattsburg, New York. Welcome once again Glen Dooley who was visiting family in Nottingham, England. Kate Keen had her sister, Lori Keen, from Chicago, as a guest for five days. We too had guests at “Roseland”: Mitch Winehouse from London, Robin Schwietzer from New York City, and Mark Watson from New Jersey.
I was at a piano bar with Dan Daley when I met two interesting people. Kevin Tuerff’s story about 9/11 planes diverting from Europe to Gander, Newfoundland, has been written. His character is Kevin in Broadway’s “Come From Away,” played by Chad Kimble. He recently wrote a book, “Channel of Peace: Stranded in Gander on 9/11.” He was with Brandon Davidson, and it was their first time in Cherry Grove.
The Concerned Women Of The Grove (CWOG) held their breast cancer benefit, with an overwhelming turnout on a beautiful hot Saturday afternoon. Congratulations to Angela Smith, Angela Ruggiero, Jennie Mandelino, Paulette Manos, Sue Panzer, Joanne Orfanos, and Stella Bruzzese for putting this event together. Donna Piranha was the MC who rocked the house. A wonderful selection of items were donated to the auction by many people and by many high-end firms, including theatre tickets and great restaurants both in the Grove and in New York City. This event had a tremendous response, raising over $40,000. Proceeds go to the Stony Brook Cancer Center, and Gilda’s Club.
PAWS had its annual Animal Blessing at the Community House. Always a great event organized by Valerie Perez; Pastor Ray Bagnuolo officiated.
Fire Island Artists Residency (FIAR) had its annual gathering of artists from various parts of the world for two weeks. Photographer Ryan McGinley, who has produced 20 books of photos, has exhibited at the Whitney Museum, and has traveled through the U.S. This program continues to thrive and grow.
We lost another old-time member of the Grove. Ray Mann sold his house in the Grove 10 years ago. He lived in New York before moving to Birmingham, Michigan, where he recently died. Ray was the partner of radio announcer the late Alan Prescott, who was one of the early performers in the Arts Project shows. They lived in the Grove since the late ‘40s.
Aug. 19, 7 p.m. Bobby Michel from the Pines will call Bingo, at the Community House. The theme is Fairy Tales. He is giving away coffee table books as prizes.
Aug. 23, 9 p.m. Shirley Ritenour will appear at Cabaret Thursday at the Community House, in “When She Loved Me.”
Sept. 8. Joe Anania is rehearsing with his cast, Michael Cleeff, Barbara Grecki, and Brooke Davis, for “An Evening of Romance and Discovery,” at the Community House, in which two one-act plays, “The Bear” by Anton Chekhov and “Penguin Blues” by Ethan Phillipe, will be presented.