Hundreds of Long Island families had a rockin’ good time on Saturday, April 20 as Rolling River Day Camp in East Rockaway held their third annual “Rock-the-River” Spring Festival and Fundraiser to raise money for the Campmates scholarship program. Long Island publication Local Luxuries co-sponsored this year’s festival, which provided a wide array of family-friendly activities open to the entire community. The outdoor event, held on Rolling River’s picturesque riverside campgrounds, featured carnival rides, live entertainment, face painting, sand art, pony rides and refreshments such as make your own Kona shaved ice and fresh empanadas.
Over 45 local businesses from across the Tri-State area provided interactive activities at the festival. Children experienced multiple free demos and live performances by 5 Star Sports and Entertainment Academy, Femcho, The Dance Space, Adel’s International Karate and Mad Science. The children were also treated to a live performance by the up-and-coming teen empowerment pop group “Lucki Gurlz.” Participating merchants also opened pop-up stores to sell items including jewelry, fashionable hand bags, and air-brushed t-shirts.
Such efforts from local merchants along with a larger-than-expected turnout helped the festival exceed its charitable goals. Enough funds were raised to sponsor the camp tuitions for three children recommended by Peninsula Counseling Center. Rolling River Community Development Manager Andrew Liebowitz was more than pleased with the community’s response. “Watching a community that was so devastated by Hurricane Sandy only months ago come together and enjoy a fun-filled and charitable event was an incredible display of resilience.” Rolling River Events Manager and festival coordinator Alison Goodman agreed, saying, “We come to work every day wanting to put smiles on children’s faces and through the community’s support, we are now able to help three children have the summer of their dreams.”
Launched in 2010, The Campmates Program™ is a joint partnership between Rolling River Day Camp and Peninsula Counseling Center, one of the oldest and largest mental health counseling centers on Long Island. The program awards complimentary tuitions to children associated with Peninsula Counseling Center. Local business donations and community fundraisers such as the Rock-the-River Festival provide year-round support for this program. Over the past three years the initiative has provided over 25 tuition-free camp scholarships for children in Nassau County & Queens.