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Fundraising saves Glen Cove fireworks, concerts

Patricia Holman helps organize Downtown Sounds in Glen

Patricia Holman helps organize Downtown Sounds in Glen Cove. Credit: Howard Schnapp

Glen Cove Mayor Timothy Tenke cut two of the city's cherished summer events to fill a hole in the budget, but both are back on track after a county grant and private donations came through. 

Glen Cove saved $60,000 by eliminating funding for the Fourth of July fireworks display and Downtown Sounds, an annual music festival that has run for the past 20 years, Tenke said.

“The majority of people understood that that’s entertainment, and when it comes to paying our bills and being fiscally responsible that the other stuff has to come first,” Tenke said.

That’s not to say there weren’t a lot of disappointed residents.

“A lot of people were concerned,” said Patricia Holman, the executive director of the city’s Business Improvement District, which stages Downtown Sounds. “There was a lot of disappointment.”

Tenke said the city set out to drum up funding for the fireworks from private donors and sought help from Nassau County Legis. Delia DeRiggi-Whitton (D-Glen Cove) to save the festival.

“It really has been a terrific thing for downtown and Glen Cove,” DeRiggi-Whitton said. “It brought people from all over, and every summer people really look forward to it.”

The city raised $33,200 through a letter-writing campaign and private donations to cover the cost of the fireworks display that will be held on the Fourth of July at Morgan Park.

DeRiggi-Whitton in March secured a $25,000 grant from the county’s Hotel-Motel Occupancy Tax fund to pay for concerts through August.

The music series began in 1997 under former Mayor Thomas Suozzi and was originally called Jazz in the Square. Because of its popularity, organizers decided to expand the festival with acts through July and August and renamed it Downtown Sounds.

“Downtown Sounds was going to be lost if this grant didn’t come through,” Holman said.  

Typically, Holman would start planning for the concerts in January, but this year organizers have had to scramble and only finalized the lineup last week.

Concerts are held in the center of the city’s downtown, with a stage set at the intersection of Glen, Bridge and School streets, and draw about 12,000 people throughout the summer.

Organizers decided to go with a fresh group of acts this year instead of some of the regular performers, Holman said. The concert series kicks off July 5 with Selena tribute band Almost Selena,  and shows begin every Friday at 7:30 p.m. Dean Ford and The Beautiful Ones, a Prince tribute band, will close the festival Aug. 30.

“I think people see it as more of a dance party on a Friday night,” Holman said. “We really wanted to bring that to our audience this year.”

Downtown Sounds lineup:

July 5: Almost Selena – A Selena Tribute

July 12: Peat Moss & The Fertilizers

July 19: 2U “The World’s 2nd Best U2 Show”

July 26: Bon Journey

Aug. 2: Hey Nows!

Aug. 9: Right On Band “The World’s Greatest Show Band”

Aug. 16: Abbacadabra: ABBA Tribute

Aug. 23: Kamellot; Misty Mountain

Aug. 30: Dean Ford & The Beautiful Ones

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