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Mike BarryEye on the Island

By Mike Barry
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Belmont Eve on LI

Garden City and Floral Park will celebrate on Friday evening, June 10 their annual Belmont Festivals, held the night before the final leg of thoroughbred horse racing’s Triple Crown is run.

The Belmont Stakes is taking place at Belmont Park in Elmont on Saturday afternoon, June 11. Even though no horse is vying for the Triple Crown this year, the Kentucky Derby winner, Animal Kingdom, and the Preakness’ victor, Shackleford, are both expected as of this writing to compete in the Belmont.

The Garden City Belmont Festival, co-sponsored by the New York Racing Association (NYRA) and Long Island Plastic Surgical Group, continues from 6 to 10 p.m. on Friday, June 10 along Garden City’s 7th Street. NYRA television analyst and retired jockey Richard Migliore is serving as the festival’s emcee. In addition, longtime public relations practitioner Ed Lewi, founder of the PR firm, which bears his name, will be honored that night with a village proclamation for his longtime dedication to spearheading the Garden City Belmont Festival.

The event is open to the public and those walking down Garden City’s 7th Street on Friday, June 10 will encounter live music, dance groups, family-friendly activities and a “Wing Off” chicken wing competition.

Bands scheduled to perform include FiveStone, Jerry & the Newcomers, New Vintage Swing Band, Speak Easy and the Village Music Makers. The Wing Off continues from 6:30 to 9 p.m. and six restaurants are currently confirmed as participants: J.P. McGeevers, Murphy’s Bar and Grill, Rein at the Garden City Hotel, Walk Street, Lani’s Marketplace and Pop’s Wings & Grill of Lynbrook. The winner will be announced at 9:30 p.m. Passersby are invited to serve as the chicken wing competition‘s judges for a donation of $5, which qualifies them for a plate of wings and a ballot. All proceeds will benefit Operation Wounded Warrior, which provides needed items for injured U.S. military personnel.

The businesses along 7th Street as well as Franklin Avenue will have in their storefront windows the thoroughbred horse racing-related art work created by Garden City youngsters in grades K-6. Sunflower Fine Art Galleries, 172 7th Street, Garden City, coordinates this initiative and awards cash prizes to the submissions considered to be the top three posters. The location of each child’s entry will be posted at  on Friday, June 10.

The Floral Park Belmont Festival will take place on Tulip Avenue from 5 to 10 p.m. Three live bands, traditional Irish dance performances, bouncy rides, face painting, clowns, and the Floral Park High School kick line team, are among the forms of entertainment available to the public throughout the evening. Festival goers can enter a raffle to win prizes while also getting a taste of Floral Park’s restaurants as their kitchens offer culinary samples.

The Floral Park Belmont Festival is co-sponsored by NYRA and the Floral Park Chamber of Commerce.

The Belmont Stakes is a rarity in the sports world—fans can walk up on race day and purchase a ticket. In the alternative, NBC is broadcasting the action live between 5 and 7 p.m.

 

Mike Barry, a corporate communications consultant, has worked in government and journalism. Email: MFBARRY@optonline.net