Thousands of Queens residents and visitors showed up last Wednesday night, blankets and lawn chairs in hand, to enjoy the music, activities and fireworks show.
Rain dropped intermittently on a cloudy and cool evening, but held up for the Grucci fireworks, which were fired from a barge on Little Neck Bay.
Paul DiBenedetto, president of the Bayside Historical Society, which organizes the event with Councilman Paul Vallone, said the weather was a challenge, but he still anticipated thousands to show up at the celebration.
“It’s important for us to put it on because it serves the community, that’s what we’re all about,” he said. “We’re about the history of Bayside, preserving the historical elements of Bayside buildings, education. This is us giving back to Bayside.”
In addition to displaying fireworks and creating good memories for families, the event also serves as a way for residents to come to Fort Totten and learn more about the historical society.
“It’s a win for everybody,” DiBenedetto said.
Alita Hernandez, a Whitestone resident who used to live in North Flushing, came to the Fort Totten celebration for her second time. She called it a neighborhood event for everyone to enjoy.
“Something for families to get together, to hang out with their children,” she said.
She also attended for her daughter’s performance on stage. Lauren Lee Dominguez is part of MMRockCamp, a summer music program for kids based in Bayside.
The program is led by Michelle Marie, a musician who is currently the lead guitarist for the Donna Summer Musical on Broadway.
Dominguez said she met Marie when she was in the 6th grade. After getting private lessons from Marie, she joined the four-week program to expand her guitar skills.
They performed in front of thousands in the crowd.
“It’s been great,” Dominguez said. “She’s been such a role model for the kids.”