The Town of Oyster Bay held its annual “Salute to America” show this week in , featuring festive music and enough fireworks to turn night into day.
The show attracted thousands to the park. It kicked off with an introduction by Oyster Bay Supervisor John Venditto, who thanked the thousands in attendance for coming, in particular singling out the military veterans in the audience for their service.
Venditto introduced several special annual Oyster Bay honorees, each selected for their contributions to the community, who were presented with medals and Certificates of Merit on stage.
“It’s one thing to honor our veterans,” Venditto said. “But it’s another thing when your peers think so highly of you that they pick a night like this to honor you. That says something about the quality of the service.”
Oyster Bay saluted three special residents that evening: Nancy Carter of Bethpage was presented with the Non-Veteran Volunteer of the Year award, John E. Maxwell of Babylon was presented with the Veteran of the Year award, and Veteran Joe Ingino of Lindenhurst was presented with the Lifetime Achievement award.
Up next was Sixgun, one of the tri-state area's top country/rock bands, which goes by the motto "Country With a Kick." They entertained the crowd with a 90-minute set of honky-tonk classics, original songs and pop tunes with a country twist.
Finally, the moment everyone had been waiting for – nightfall and a fireworks show by the famed Grucci Company.
The evening was marred, however, by an accident involving teen pedestrians on Merrick Road just outside the gates of Burns Park that took place while Sixgun was playing their set.
Despite the incident, most residents had great things to say about the evening.
Sherry Belevokula of Farmingdale said she's been coming to the “Salute to America” show for as long as she can remember.
“I come with friends, I come with family, I’ve even come by myself a few times,” she said. “It’s a wonderful event and I never miss it.”
John Grissomb of Massapequa said that fireworks on top of tunes is like icing on the cake.
“I’m a big fan of a good fireworks show, and they put on some of the best ever here in Burns Park,” he said. “The wife, kids and me always make a point of being here every year, even though we always end up having to park a mile away each time.”
Frank Lee of Syosset thought the annual event is one that shouldn't be missed.
“There’s no better way to pay tribute to this great land of ours than with music, fireworks, and family,” he said. “It’s a perfect evening every year.”