By Bradlee White
The Fourth of July, the parade of children’s wagons, the drumbeat of the Bay Shore and West Islip bands, Marines raising the flag, Saoirse Ryan singing the national anthem, the reading of the names of deceased veterans from WWII and Korea – mentioned in my last column – and the names of Kismet veterans of Vietnam: Jack Baker, Tom Doxie, Rusty Phelan, Mike Mckowsky, Phil Villachi, Arthur Weinstein and Art Weisser; and of course Kismet Fire Department members cooking burgers, dogs, clams, and selling raffle tickets. The Wagon of Cheer was won by Jackie from Nassau County; the 50-50 by Irena of Surf’s Out, $730; and a board of scratch-off lottery tickets won by Nick Petris. Kismet League for Animal Welfare became a part of the celebration in the ‘80s with their homemade pies, more recently with bicycles. This year’s bike was won by visiting Theresa Diemer. The old “pump house” is where the floats assemble, with bevies of parents struggling to tuck their costumed children onto or into decorated wagons as the bands tune up. Excited neighbors line the parade route to cheer. The Best in Show float this year was First Woman to the Moon, with Quinn Sowers and Brett Arthur from the Arthur house. The most topical float was American Airlines, with Lydon and Riley Rose Cole and a friend riding a silver colored wagon-plane. Crossing the Delaware, aka Give me Kismet or Give me Death, with Reagan, Ryan and Nicolas of “Déjà vu,” was deemed the Most Patriotic float. Other notable entries were Rowan and Anna (staying with Jimmy and Joaney) with a Grateful Dead theme; Tess from “Friends Again” singing “Boogie Wonderland;” Maeli, Ava and Jack of “Way Way Yonder,” with Kismet Candies; and Fishing for the 4th, with Kai and friends. Babies Enzo and Lexie made their first debut.
Another sign of summer: The 11th Annual Burger Cooking Contest on the beach on June 30, organized by John Berinzoni and assisted by Nick Veljaich, Greg Weisser and Alicia Grenesko. Burgers were vegetarian, meat, lamb, seafood, and even dessert burgers – sesame cupcakes with coconut shreds and sugar cookies as fries. The judging was done by Greg Weiser (last year’s winner), Morgan Mooney and Nick Veljaich. Onlookers were also asked to taste and vote. Each entry was cut in quarters and placed on a long table with a written description of ingredients. Official judges had to taste all entries, though they didn’t have to finish them – too much. Everyone else was allowed three quarters each. These cooks – chefs actually – take their creations seriously. An international “rookie” group from BVT, hailing from Hungary, Germany, Haiti and Ireland, submitted a hungry VIAF burger with roots in France in the 1500s. A husband-wife team, Leslie and Brian, had two winning entries – Rockin Ramin with tuna and ginger wasabi mayonnaise and French Onion Burger (Judge’s Best). Jane Weiser won the Five-Napkin award for her Gooey Yummy Burger. Chris Braun got the Mad Cow award (just crazy enough to work) for his New England Chedah Buga. Scott Fishman won most creative for The Lucian – a burger with rum, pineapple, bacon and jalapeno. The crowd favorite was Frank Ribando’s Kismet Kontender, a porterhouse with bacon, cheese, onions and shiitake mushrooms in cognac, which he enthusiastically described to me.
Saturday, July 7, was a busy day and night. Jacquie Jones and Linda Knoth organized a “fun-raising” sandcastle/sculpture event on the beach. It was a perfect day for it: sunny but water too rough for children. There were 16 team entrants and three notable winners. Judges were unbiased visitors. First prize – a gorgeous gift basket filled with swag from local businesses as well the right to host a large beach castle flag for a year – went to an intricate Jurassic Island, created by Uncle Matt; his nephews, Charlie and Jack; and godson, Lydon Cole. The second place team won a smaller flag for their Dolphin sculpture. Unfortunately, that group had left the beach before I got there. Third Place went to the Sea Turtle created by the Palace Squad – Reese, Ace, Kai, Avery and Hudson.
It was a perfect beach evening for the Annual Seabay Potluck dinner organized by Gregg and Jane Weiser. The dishes were scrumptious. There was no contest, no prizes, just a relaxed gathering of neighbors and friends. My favorite – John Berinzoni’s lobster ravioli. Another crowd pleaser was Jane’s lemon meringue pie.
I see that Brooke and Evin have advertised a plant and pet care business and that Islip Department of Public Works cleaned our drains at the end of June. Let’s hope both are successful.
July 21: Kismet Day – Raffles, face painting, and dunking; also the Pine Street Block Party.