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Thrills And Chills At Levittown Fair

In addition to honoring those who have bravely fought to defend our country overseas, Memorial Day informally marks the start of summer. Each year, to embrace the sunshine and warm weather, the Levittown Chamber of Commerce invites the community to come to its annual Memorial Day Fair behind the Tri-County Flea Market. “It’s our single fundraiser of the year,” said Steven Philmus, president of the Levittown Chamber of Commerce, “and it has always been a successful event for more than 20 years.”

From May 22-May 26, crowds enjoyed a slew of rides, including a ferris wheel, flying swings, and carnival games where they could win one of many prizes.

“It’s a fun day,” stated Michael Lavine, who was enjoying the festivities with his wife, Sabrina.

But what really wowed the crowd was the circus, which featured a mother-son motorcycle team bracing danger in a steel ball.

“The motorcycle acts take such skill and are so cool,” said one resident.

However, not all were so enthusiastic about “Close Encounters of the Exotic Kind,” a performance featuring lions and tigers.

“It is incredibly disappointing that the Levittown Chamber of Commerce would host such a cruel and antiquated act,” said John DiLeonardo, president of the animal advocacy organization Long Island Orchestrating for Nature (LION), which held a demonstration against the mistreatment of the animals. “Not only does Close Encounters have an abysmal animal welfare record, but inviting this out-of-state show strays from the mission of any local Chamber of Commerce. We will be contacting the Chamber and requesting that they never host an exotic animal act again.”

According to the handlers, Vincent and Georgina Von Duke, they do not declaw their big cats or remove their canines, unlike most other exotic animal acts.

“Whenever animals of any species are being exploited under the disguise of entertainment, they fall in the hands of our elected officials as to whether this should be tolerated or even welcomed by society,” President of Hope for Hempstead Shelter United Diane Madden said during the demonstration. “The message here is that our town and county officials must accept the responsibility they have historically disowned, which is to protect these voiceless beings.”

Philmus explained that the Levittown chamber certainly plans to reevaluate having exotic animals at the event based on the comments that were made.

“We don’t want anyone to be upset and don’t want to alienate a group of people,” Philmus said. “That’s not the purpose of the event. It allows us to get together and have a fun weekend for people.”

News

U.S. Air Force Veteran Mario Dell’aera, 80, of Levittown said he first volunteered for service in 1952, during the Korean War.

 

“They called volunteers ‘regulars,’” he said, reflecting back to when he first enlisted.

 

From 1952-1956, Dell’era called the Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas, Nev. home. The base, he said, operated 24 hours, 7 days a week, training pilots to fly overseas into Korea.

A clown named Renaldo performed magic tricks for an enthusiastic audience as part of the National Circus Project, which visited Levittown Public Library on Wednesday, July 16.

 

All 150 tickets available for the performance were sold out in this interactive magic show for children. Throughout the entire circus act, children laughed and raised their hands as high as they could to be chosen as one of Renaldo’s helpers.

 

Raising her hand to participate was three-year-old Kirsten Cantwell from Seaford. “She was upset that she didn’t get picked,” said her mother Melissa Cantwell.

 

Kirsten Cantwell goes to any activity offered at the library, and is starting to enjoy watching magic shows. According to her mother, she really enjoyed the performance.

 

In the circus show, National Circus Project performer, Al Calienes, acted as Renaldo the clown.

 

“The show has different components of acts in the circus,” explained Calienes. “We teach children circus moves.”

 

With the National Circus Project, children get to see magic tricks performed live. “We infuse enthusiasm by showing them, and they in turn will be able to repeat the process,” said Calienes.

Renaldo performed plate spinning, where he spun a plate on a stick and passed it along to the stick of one of his helpers from the audience, who then passed the plate down a line of three more helpers. This interactive way of teaching the children magic tricks really allows them to absorb what they are learning.

 

The National Circus Project travels and performs for elementary schools, as well as middle and high schools. When the National Circus Project is not going to schools, they perform at library shows, summer camps, and other types of events.

 

The performance entertains the adults as well as the children. “We involve everybody,” said Calienes. “Everybody’s engaged on some level or another. “

 

At every library performance, Calienes donates the children’s book he wrote and illustrated Renaldo Joins the Circus to the library. He feels that he owes a lot to the library system. “Anything that ever meant anything to me I learned in the library,” said Calienes.

 

Calienes learned how to draw from the library, which is how he became a commercial artist. One of the main characters he would always draw would be Renaldo the clown. “I wanted to make him real so I joined the circus,” he said.

 

Calienes has been performing with the National Circus Project for seven years and has been in the circus business going on 26 years.

 

The National Circus Project brings magic to children at any school, camp or library all over Long Island as well as across the country.


Sports

Levittown’s Division Avenue High School varsity baseball team, under the direction of coach Tom Tuttle, won the Class A County Championship, garnering a third-place ranking in New York State. This is the team’s 13th county championship win and the second county championship for the school in the past four years.

 

In addition, senior Chris Reilly was named Championship MVP for throwing a complete game shutout in game two and going three for four with two RBIs. 

Taylor Traenkle, a junior at Division Avenue High School recently received the MVP award for the Nassau County Varsity Hockey League Association.

 

Traenkle, who plays no. 9 for the Levittown Ice Falcons, led the way averaging 2.8 points a game with a total of 25 goals and 23 assists in just 17 games. 


Calendar

Lazy Days Of Summer - July 26

Flea Market - July 27

Darlene Prince and the Bragg Hollow Band - July 28


Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
Written by Mike Barry, MFBarry@optonline.net

Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com