Rockaway/Broad Channel Rock Flag Day

 Rockaway/Broad Channel Rock Flag Day

By Dan Guarino

Each year, Flag Day commemorates the adoption of the stars and stripes by the fledgling United States on June 14, 1777.

This year in Rockaway and Broad Channel, Councilwoman Joann Ariola sponsored two big free events for all to celebrate and salute the red, white and blue. On Friday, June 14, festivities brought out hundreds of children, parents and families, at Broad Channel’s 17th Road Park. From 4 to 7 p.m. they enjoyed popcorn and ices, outdoor games like ring toss, a DJ playing kids’ favorites and more. Children of all ages kicked off their shoes and scurried through inflatable attractions like a Frozen bounce castle and slide, a giant football toss and a super huge red, white and blue streaked enclosed obstacle course. Even some little ones were out in strollers celebrating their very first Flag Day.

A big hit were horses from both the NYC Parks and NYPD mounted units, which children, with the careful guidance of officers, were eager to pet.

Groups there to give out items and information included the FDNY, giving out red fire hats, Queens Library, the NYC Departments of Health, Buildings, Sanitation and Parks, NYPD’s K-9 unit, Century 21 real estate and Councilwoman Ariola’s office.

Predicted rains, which pounded through almost to the minute the Broad Channel event ended, postponed Ariola’s Rockaway Flag Day event and fireworks scheduled for Friday night, until Saturday evening. But Saturday made for a perfect night. A bright sunset spread over several hundred people gathered in beach chairs, on stone steps and along the boardwalk at the Beach 94th Street Amphitheater as the band Yesterday and Today belted out two hours of Beatles music.

Quite a few people danced and gyrated, some displaying some impressive moves, including the Councilwoman, and even toddlers bopped to the beat. The band also played “Birthday” in honor of Ariola’s special day the day before.

She also gave out bottled water, supported by the Queens Chamber of Commerce, as well as sunshades, hats, badges, noisemakers and light up stars and stripes tubes. Capping off the event at 9 p.m., upward of a thousand people crowded onto the boardwalk to watch spectacular fireworks displays launched from a barge offshore. Stirring favorites like “God Bless America” and “America the Beautiful” played over the bursts flashing in the night.

Many raced down to the beach to watch from the shore, and many more enjoyed the show from their terraces from blocks away.

A happy crowd drifted away from the fun, fanfare and music, with all in general agreement that in Broad Channel and Rockaway, Flag Day had truly been well celebrated.

Photos by Dan Guarino.

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