Ocean Bay Park

By Barbara Gaby Placilla

August is marching towards Labor Day, and on the way to that often dreaded date, we’ve been treated to pods of dolphins, the purple of the vitex and the return of the Monarch butterflies. There has been a frenzy of activity as residents, visitors and business owners try to pack in as much summer as they can before Labor Day.

We had a three generations weekend when my niece, Christine Paul, and her husband, Mike, visited with their two children, Christian and Julia. Christian, who is only 5, and already an avid Yankees fan, was thrilled when Ralph Buckley invited him to play softball with the rest of the tribe who gather each weekend at Newman Field in Seaview. It is both heartwarming and entertaining to watch the parents who patiently pitch and catch. Each child gets their turn at bat until they hit the ball. This is an every age activity where the teenagers act as base coaches and help the younger ones run the bases. It’s a great way to get kids out of the house and away from their screens for a few hours to enjoy some good, old-fashioned fun. A tip of the cap goes to Ralph Buckley who was coaching, Chas Kingsley who was catching and Seaview’s Eddie Aug who was pitching.

The Rat Pack: Fran Miller, Eileen Murray, Adrienne
Ratuszny and Janice McBride.

The kids’ game on Saturday was a prelude to the annual Over and Under game that pits OBP and Seaview players over a certain age against a team of players under a certain age. Seaview’s Joel Mandel provides the shirts each year and even ran bases with the kids for a pre-game warm up. Ava Buckley sang “The Star-Spangled Banner” and then it was “play ball!” The Overs took an early lead and beat the Unders 11 to 5. This game is but a tease for the annual OBP-Seaview Homeowner’s game held every Labor Day. Each time I pass the Seaview Liquor Store, and see the trophy sitting comfortably on a bed of corks, I am reminded that we lost last year. I actually think it looks so much better on its “usual perch” in the OBP FD fire hall. So let’s see what happens in a few weeks. It’s reassuring to know that one of our star players, Joe Tag, has recuperated from his recent knee surgery and will help lead us back to victory!

That same weekend, the Auxiliary hosted their annual theme cocktail party fundraiser. This year the theme was an Evening with Frank, homage to Frank Sinatra. The party is always “dress the theme” optional and this group never disappoints when it comes to dressing up. This time Fran Miller topped her usual creativity when her four housemates came as the Rat Pack. Robbie Harris was spotted dressed in what I think was retro Vegas chic and Pam Birnbaum and Tom Neal, as usual, looked dashing in black and white.

The Ocean Bay Park Association does one fundraiser, the Community Fair, each summer. This year the Fair was again held at Schooner Inn on Saturday, Aug. 11. The day started as a disaster with torrential downpours as we were setting up the tents and tables and for a while it looked like it would be a complete washout. However, it turned out great because the rain finally stopped before the first burger hit the grill and as it was not a beach day, Schooner was filled with people enjoying the fantastic food, the free face painting, bidding on the silent auction and having a great time listening to DJ Tommy. Wendi Schecter’s “yummy bites” were practically sold before they even made it to the table! Wendi, next year make triple the amount, please! Ellie Mal ladled out the clam chowder, which sold out too quickly, and when the Fair ended, we had only a few overcooked hot dogs left!

Once again Joe and Yusi Gurrera outdid themselves with the donation of their superb Citarella food items as did Peter Harris of the Silver Palate. Yusi’s crew included Fran Lobo, Maureen Palladino, Debby Schankweiler and Wendi Schecter; Denise Anderson and Tanya Tesa sold Silver Palate products. The grill masters, Jeff Lewis, Joe Gurrera, Gene Raicovich, Marty Juvalier and Jim Grashow were in fine form and this year had their own tent to keep them sheltered. The younger set helped out as well with Sophia Borges, Ava Buckley and Taylor Kingsley scooping out snow cones, a new addition to the Fair this year. We’ve already decided that next year we will get two machines – one for the kids and the other for the adults! Ken Klein, the wine master, once again donated several cases of his hand-picked favorites, which were all sold. Joanne and Paul Brincat sold the 50-50 tickets along with Mary “A” and Bobby Vaskas who sold the raffle tickets. The 50-50 was won by Lisa Eschmann’s mother, Laila Skofteland, who graciously donated back a portion of her $1,175 share of the pot. The two big raffle prizes, the Apple watch and the smart TV, were won by Bud Kroll and Sean McNamee.

Community service is a way of life in Ocean Bay Park. Is it because we are so blessed to be able to live on Fire Island that we feel compelled to give back? Or is it just good karma to make your community a wonderful, welcoming place? I think it’s a little bit of both and I am proud and honored to have worked with everyone who volunteered to once again continue the tradition of the Community Fair. We could not have done this without the tireless dedication of ALL the volunteers, especially Community Manager Bartley Horton, Lisa and Steven Jaffe, the OBPA board members and Schooner’s Paul Mohring. There are so many people to mention and thank. The day was non-stop activity and I apologize that I did not mention you all. All I can say is you know who you are and along with my co-chair, Cami Meyer, we salute you and thank you for all you did. It’s this willingness to go that extra mile that makes OBP the best town on Fire Island!

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