Rose’s View ~ Cherry Grove & Fire Island Pines

by FIN |

By Robert Levine – Our 25th Gay Pride parade in Cherry Grove proved that yes, we can do it again! Like the yellow brick road, I knew I was back in Oz once again. Homecoming Queen Davida Jones

The lovely Toni Cesta enjoying her cool ride in the Pride Parade.

was indeed the mistress of ceremonies and all the colorful floats decorated by the local business community were truly a feast for the eyes. This year a house decorating contest was added to the festivities. The oceanfront “Seascape,” designed by Thomas Anderson, Tommy Tush, Lisa Solazzo-Finnegan and Eddie Fraser, was declared the winner.

We are looking forward to our Invasion coming back this weekend. Take those wigs, dresses and heels out of the closet and air them out! After being boxed up for more than a year, things may be a little musty. A spray of Chanel No. 5 should do the trick. I saw some of you were at the Drag Tag Sale buying gowns and trinkets. See you on the runway!

The annual Grove House Blessing was held on June 6. The float had nuns, rabbis, church ladies and of course the lovely Queen Davida. Generous funds raised will be divided among APCG, CGCAI, CGAC, Garden Club, Dune Fund, Memorial Fund and PAWS.

Cherry Grove Artist Tour was back on too, helmed by Susan Thornton. The silent auction was held on Friday, June 11 at the Community House and included 20 artworks donated by local Grove artists. Michael Fitzgerald and Petra Berhl’s artworks commanded high prices, with proceeds raised going to the Dune Fund.

SAGE once again celebrated in the Pines at Whyte Hall, with substantial attendance to honor Steven Alan Black, Nicole La Fountaine and Ferris Al-Shathis. The Fire Island Pines Fire Department held their annual installation dinner in Oakdale on June 11. Chief Joe Geiman and all the firefighters were an elegant sight, donning their full dress uniforms. The evening was dedicated to Firefighter Mark Basta, who was recently injured but now recovering. Special guest was Jay DeMassey. The ferry returned everyone home with memories of a beautiful evening.

Kudos to FIPPOA President Henry Robin who posted a proclamation, which can be viewed in the harbor ferry shelter, acknowledging all the essential workers in Fire Island Pines during a challenging time. BOFFO had a cocktail party to introduce the new Artist-in-Residence Rafa Esparza, which was hosted by Ferris Al-Shathis. The Cherry Grove’s Fire Island Artist Residency program has a new director, April Freely. Congratulations to Jan Felshon and Edrie Furdon who recently celebrated their 63rd anniversary.

Juneteenth is now a federal holiday, and BaBEC’s Juneteenth Weekend was a great success. There were tea dances in both communities, a silent auction, the solidarity march on the beach, and the raising of the new Progress Pride Flag in the Grove, designed by Daniel Quasar. There were salon discussions at both the Belvedere and Whyte Hall. Jay Walsh and John Yates were guest speakers touching on many subjects regarding race, politics and policing. Then a pageant on Sunday closed out the weekend with great excitement and created another historical weekend to remember.

Now that the Community House in Cherry Grove will reopen this season to full capacity, the Arts Project of Cherry Grove at last presents their first show in two seasons. At 8:30 p.m. on July 10, Rose Levine stars in “The Show Must Go On,” with Davida Jones, Jack Bartholet, Bobby Miles and Dale Lolly, and directed by Mark York. Tickets are now on sale online at or at the box office, open Saturday and Sunday, from 10 a.m. to noon.

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