KISMET: Across the Bay with MJ

KISMET: Across the Bay with MJBy Marijane VoltzAug. 8 was the kickoff to a fabulous 50th birthday celebration for Eileen Rafferty, from “Paddy Shack.” Having invited 34 relatives and friends to join her at the 29th Annual Barefoot Black Tie Dinner Dance, it was sure to be a blast. While some men sported tuxedo shirts and ties, others opted for a more relaxed look with Hawaiian shirts and khaki’s. For the women, long and short dresses were all the style, while flip flops replaced their Louboutin’s for the night.Congregating at the “Paddy Shack,” Eileen’s entourage prepared for the mile long walk to the Lighthouse. During their travels, the group came upon professional photographers who were more than happy to oblige and take some photos of the stunning party goers.As Eileen’s birthday party arrived at the Lighthouse and settled into their table, they watched as the sun slowly set, preparing them for a glorious night ahead. With a buffet ranging from shrimp scampi to prime beef, an open bar and music by Tradewinds, this was the perfect recipe for a night to remember.The money raised at the Barefoot Black Tie Dinner, goes towards the preservation of the Fire Island Lighthouse. Thousands of visitors come to the Lighthouse each year to learn about its maritime heritage. Without the dinner dance and countless other events that are held at the Lighthouse, the challenge of raising the funds needed for the maintenance and upkeep of this historical structure would be that more difficult.The first Lighthouse was built in 1826, standing only 74 feet high. The octagonal building, which was made of red brick, was not high enough to be effective. In 1858, the current Lighthouse was built to stand at 168 feet, making the light visible to boaters navigating the sea. Wanting to hold on to a piece of the original Lighthouse, the red brick from the octagonal structure was used to create the circular terrace that compliments the present day Lighthouse.On Memorial Day in 1986, the Lighthouse was relit and considered an official aid to navigation. The Lighthouse is lit by two 1000 watt bulbs that rotate counter clockwise. Every 7.5 seconds there is a flash of light that is visible for about 24 miles.Thanks to Eileen Rafferty and her desire to celebrate her 50th birthday in true Fire Island style, many Kisminites will be returning to the Barefoot Black Tie for years to come. Residents from Kismet, including Sam Wood whose mother played a big role in preserving the Lighthouse, took a break from the event for several years, due to the dinner taking place in tents set up along the dunes. Having memories of mosquito welts and uneven ground, the Barefoot Black Tie had lacked everything “Black Tie.”The event now takes place on the circular terrace that skirts the base of the Lighthouse. With tables on even ground and mosquitos easier to avoid, it’s a more comfortable setup. Down the steps, off the west side of the terrace, is a spacious dance floor where guests enjoyed the sounds of the 11-piece band Tradewinds, as they performed rock, pop, swing and funk. The Barefoot Black Tie is now the hot ticket in town.The morning after the Black Tie, Eileen’s children surprised their mom with a beach bash like no other. As 60-70 relatives and friends ventured over to Kismet on the morning of Aug. 9, Eileen took her time waking up. Trying to decide between taking a run or going straight to the beach, Eileen opted for the latter. As she made her way over the dunes, the vision of her loved ones awaiting her arrival brought tears to her eyes. It was a surprise of all surprises and a perfect way to celebrate a wonderful mom, sister, aunt and friend.On Aug. 15, another one of our Kismet favorites, Dawn Leone, celebrated her birthday the same way she loves to celebrate it every year, with a Beach Bingo Bash. As friends and family gathered on the beach and letters and numbers were called out, drinks and hors d’oeuvres were served at a steady pace.As the beach bingo came to a close, Dawn and Gary Leone, along with Patty and Lou Romanzi, Chez Rudy, Patty Lyons, and Tim and Jane Mooney, gathered at the Mooney’s humble abode for a night of karaoke. These Kisminites really know how to ring in a new year.Joe Pat and his Cherry Grove friends, including Miss Fire Island 2014, invaded Kismet for the third time in three years. The “Kismet Invasion” took place at the Surf’s Out, where the drag queens showcased their wigs and heels, false eyelashes and chemical peels.Adorned in a rhinestone leotard and stiletto heels (size 13), the host of the Invasion picked members out of the audience, making them a part of the show. This year, Kismet resident Carmine Padovano was called up to the stage. Channeling his inner “drag queen,” Carmine decided that he would call himself “Mary Jane”… you go girl!Rose Liotta, who celebrated her 78th birthday on the evening of the Invasion, was called up to the stage at the end of the night. As the host sang “Happy Birthday” in her baritone voice range and towered over Rose in her sequenced gown, the birthday girl had the skip of a 28-year-old, as she made her way back to her seat.The “Invasion” took place on a Monday night in the courtyard of the Surf’s Out. It was a loud show with a lot of adult content and inappropriate language and innuendo’s. Parents should procure babysitters if they plan on attending. It is not a show for youngsters!Kismet news tips? Write to MJ at [email protected].