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Flushing comes out for 40th Greek Festival’s music, food

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The weeks sure are flying by with much to do.

Monday was the Queens Library Foundation Gala, which was held in a new location at Studio Square in Long Island City. The food was excellent, much better than the usual organizational dinners, but it was a no-frills place, kind of barn-like — perhaps the decorations will come later.

The Library had its usual group of supporters in attendance. This year’s honorees were Michael Dana of ONEX Real Estate Partners; George Stamatiades, vice president of Thomas M. Quinn and Sons Funeral Home; and CISCO, a corporate supporter of education for children. It was a pleasant evening enjoyed by everyone.

On Tuesday, Michael Brennan, the new monsignor of St. Andrew Avellino’s Church in Flushing, performed a blessing of the animals ceremony in honor of St. Francis of Assisi. They had a nice turnout, considering it was held on a weekday afternoon. Many people who would have liked to have their animals blessed couldn’t, as they were working. Perhaps next year a weekend ceremony would be better.

On Wednesday evening, the Bayside/Whitestone Lions Club held its meeting, at the Adria Hotel in Bayside, to present its annual Community Service Awards. It was a lovely ceremony. The 109th and 111th precincts had members honored. P.O. Daniel Garcia of the 111th received the Military Service Award. He is an impressive young man and I am sure this is the beginning of a successful career with the NYPD.

Some of the other guests were Queens District Attorney Richard Brown, Miss New York USA Bianca Pappas and Samantha Vallone, who has a beautiful singing voice. State Assemblyman Ed Braunstein stopped by earlier in the evening but couldn’t stay, as he had to go to another event. City Councilman Dan Halloran arrived late, as he was held up at a previous event. It looks like the new Lions Club intends to be active in the community. Good luck, Lions, and thank you, Paul Vallone, for resurrecting the old club.

Thursday was the first night of the 40th-annual Festival of St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church in Flushing. It lasts for four days and is lots of fun. The festival provides wonderful Greek food, a good assortment of games, live Greek music, singers and dancers dressed in costumes indigenous to the areas of Greece they came from. Their flea market is a wonderful place to shop, as you never know what treasures you will discover.

As I walked into the festival, the first three people I met were the Rev. Theofanis Papantonis, my new best friend David Weprin and the Rev. Paul Palesty. I say “best friend” with tongue in cheek, as during the Turner-Weprin campaign David and his wife and children refused to speak to me. His mother Sylvia gave me a big hug — she obviously has political savvy.

David, on the other hand, never invited me to cover an event during the campaign. When all these issues were pointed out to David, he gave me a big smile and said he couldn’t understand why I thought he was mad at me. But what a difference an election makes. As of now, apparently David and I have resumed our previously cordial relationship. I guess this means David intends to invite me to his next political event. Stay tuned.

On Sunday, we went back to St. Nicholas for some Greek entertainment: music, singing and various Greek dances by the children. Everyone, young and old, enjoyed the festival.

That afternoon, we ran into George Maragos in the company of some friends and relatives. He is presently the Nassau County comptroller and is doing an excellent job.

George is campaigning hard for the 2012 U.S. Senate seat held by Kirsten Gillibrand. He is a fine man and would be good as your senator. He has been visiting many of the upstate counties and getting his message out and reports he has been well-received. We will write more about him after the first of the year, when all the campaigns start to get serious.

As far as the Queens GOP wars are concerned, do not believe all you read in the papers. The reason most the articles were exactly the same was because they were rewrites of a press release sent out by Robert Hornak, the executive director of the Ragusa Group, so Hornak knows which side his bread is buttered on. Remember, they’ll have their day in court.

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