OCEAN BAY PARKBy Barbara Gaby Placilla“The summer wind came blowin’ in from across the sea. It lingered there to touch your hair and walk with me.”That Frank Sinatra song, with lyrics written by Johnny Mercer, Henry Mayer and Hans Bradke, is so evocative of the August we have been blessed with this summer.Every August for more than 40 years Ocean Bay Park has held a Gourmet Fair. This event raises funds for the OBP Association that are used to help keep the streets swept, the beach clean and the plantings along the Bay Walk and park area maintained. Members of the community bring home cooked food and baked items for sale and the businesses here and in Ocean Beach donate goods and services for the silent auction. This year’s fair did not disappoint. The first item that I saw fly out of the firehouse was a tray of chicken cacciatore, which was donated by Betty Errico. There were food items generously donated by Citarella, The Silver Palate, and Love and Quiches and by the end of the day there was nothing left.For the children there was a face-painting table manned by Greg and Kat Nemec who did not put their brushes down until every kid had been transformed into something sweet or scary. Beachcakes donated a “decorate your own cupcake” display just in case there was a kid who needed a sugar rush. Thank you to Mallory Vannoni for watching over the kids who smeared more icing on themselves than on the cupcakes. I saw one little boy who just ate the buttercream out of the cup and didn’t bother with the cake! So that our four-legged friends were not left out, Goldie’s Goodies, dog treats, were available as well.In the midst of all the festivities, I realized that a “One Flew Over” mini-reunion was taking place when I looked up and saw Bobby “Beautiful” Pugliese (up from Florida and guesting with Claire Curlew at Ric and Denise Anderson’s), Gail Geltman (“The Playhouse”) and Gwen Wiley Cobb (staying at Alan and Debby Schankweiler’s) talking with my husband, Steve. Suddenly I was taken back to the first time I ever attended the Gourmet Fair during my first summer on Fire Island. I was dating Steve and he was a share along with Bobby, Gail and Gwen in a house on Seneca Street, which was very aptly named “One Flew Over.” Our neighbors across the street in “The Gong Show” were Robbie Harris and Tom Byrnes. Lillian Laikind came to solicit donations for the fair and I know we gave her cocktails, which she did not refuse. That Lillian knew where to get the best “donations”!How does Winnie Grant put together all those fantastic gift baskets that she donates each year? I swear she has an army of minions secretly working for her. A community-wide thank you and kudos to everyone who volunteered, but especially to the fair’s co-chairs, Cami Meyer and Alan Schankweiler (who worked on his birthday). They work tirelessly to bring this event together and made it a success once again. I know that Lillian Laikind would be proud of how this tradition has been kept alive in Ocean Bay Park.A week later, pearls were the order of the day on Saturday, Aug. 22, as Robbie Harris and Tom Byrnes celebrated their “pearl” wedding anniversary with a party at the Schooner Inn, the scene of their wedding 30 years ago. Guests were handed strands of pearls when they entered Schooner, which was closed for the afternoon for the party. Ed Travers played especially for the party. Plaques on the bride and groom bar stools were updated to mark the occasion. Robbie “said yes to the dress” again. She has worn it at every one of her anniversary parties and although Tom does not have the dapper seersucker striped suit he wore on their wedding day, he does have the Tin Hat which be proudly wore accompanied by a beer bottle theme necktie. Oh if that dress and that hat could talk what tales they would tell! There is still some debate as to who wore that dress better – Robbie or the late Wayne Gardner; but that’s a story for another column and another day.Speaking of anniversaries, my neighbors, Catherine and Tony Catanese, recently celebrated their 19th anniversary at home with Melody Rose, Anthony and Cheddar. Tony told me that they met because of a toothache. Catherine is a dental hygienist and he was her patient. They met in 1991, started dating in November 1994 and were married on Aug. 10, 1996. She is still his dental hygienist—now that’s true love!Later that evening, we were celebrating Karen Wein’s birthday along with their good friends, JoAnn and Charles Brandt, Leah and Mark Stransky, Cathy Armandroff and Michael Brownstein and Susan Wachtel and Richard Dziuba, at a dinner party hosted by Debby and Larry Mattiasen at their home on K Street. I know, this is the Ocean Bay Park column, but they are within the Brookhaven portion of Seaview and I decided to “annex” that portion of their town this time. There is a precedent since Karen and Jeffrey and Debby and Larry all lived in OBP at one time and still have strong ties to our community.Just as Larry was putting the shrimp on the barbeque, the phone rang and Peter Greenberg asked if we had electricity. He said that there was arcing of wires outside his house on Bay Walk and Erie. Larry is 1st Assistant Chief of OBPFD so he raced down to the firehouse. A few minutes later, we were all sitting in total darkness. Debby lit candles and all the women remarked at how much better we all looked by candlelight. When the blackout ended and the lights came on, we were all kind of disappointed. There really is something about both pearls and candlelight, isn’t there? Happy Birthday, Karen, you look great regardless of which light!Email Barbara with your Ocean Bay Park News at oceanbaypark@fireisland-news.com.