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How This Sunday's Community Arts Festival Came Together

"Arts Below Sunrise" includes performances from local musicians and will be preceded by Five Towns Community Chest's 5K run.

The following column was written by John Roblin, president of the Hewlett-Woodmere Public Schools Endowment Fund

Last October, Long Island was hit with a freak snow storm on Saturday the 29th. The very next day was the Hewlett-Woodmere Public Schools Endowment Fund (HWPSEF)-sponsored first-ever "Fall Harvest Festival" held at Woodmere Middle School. In spite of having to shovel parts of the parking lot and courtyard before we could even start to setup, the event was a success.

Fundraising events like this are how the HWPSEF, an independent organization of alumni, families, and friends of Hewlett-Woodmere Public Schools, raises the capital to fund grants for projects to enrich the learning experience of all Hewlett-Woodmere Public School students. The goal is to build a fund that is self-sustaining through intelligent investment so that we can provide valuable, enriching services to the school district's students indefinitely. 

The HWPSEF was approached afterwards by Bob Block of the Five Towns Community Chest (5TCC) and Jaime Wysocki of the Hewlett-Woodmere Business Association (HWBA) with the idea to expand the Fall Harvest Festival into a larger event. Both organizations share the HWPSEF's goal of community building within the Five Towns and surrounding neighborhoods.

This year's event will take place this Sunday, Oct. 14 on Broadway.

The 5TCC had the idea of coordinating their 5K Run & Family Walk to precede our event in the same location. The HWBA was instrumental in bringing in a musical director, Toby Tobias, for the event, which will include two stage areas and at least 12 musical performers, including Jen Chapin, Doug Kwartler, Jeff Pearlman & Wigjam, The Welldiggers, Elie Massias, The Toby Tobias Ensemble, The Day Laborers, Josh Tobias and more.

The "Fall Hervest Festival" at that point became "Arts Below Sunrise, The Hewlett-Woodmere Music & Arts Festival." The "Arts" aspect will include authors (including Jill Santopolo and Judith Caseley), children's art activities and local artists, including our featured artist Charlotte Strongwater. Participants and spectators in the 5K Race & Walk will be able to head up Broadway into the heart of the Music & Arts Festival immediately after the race ends.

The Hewlett and Woodmere Volunteer Fire Departments, Fourth Precinct, Trinity Saint John's Church, Hewlett-Woodmere Public Library and Town of Hempstead are all participating and working with the organizers to make this event a success.

Proceeds from this year's "Arts Below Sunrise" will benefit the HWPSEF, which in recent years has provided grants to build a community garden at Hewlett House, equip the HHS Virtual Enterprise organization with printing equipment and the seed funds to start Project Bulldog. All of these, and other, self-sustaining projects include an educational component and also benefit the community or ongoing school district programs. 

We are still looking for corporate sponsors to cover some of the expenses for this event. Please contact us at  info@hwpsef.org.

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