ASTORIA – Once upon a time in the Greek-American community in New York, its major institutions, especially those that catered to young professionals, could be counted on to surprise and delight their members and friends with unique events throughout the year.
“The Carnival of Love Foundation” is one of the independent and organizations that have stepped into the breach and on October 3rd they turned back time for a Roaring 20s Party complete with live Jazz band, soaring ladies, and a casino.
As always, it was all for a good cause – children’s well-being. The Foundation is continuing with the focus on nutrition and an emphasis on diabetes and obesity prevention begun with their Children’s Carnival in Central Park last spring.
There were no snakes at the 2014 party – in the past Central Lounge was turned into a tropical jungles – but the “carnival” dimension was represented by a woman whose long legs were lengthened by stilts, and her equally glamorous colleague who dispensed complimentary champagne suspended from the ceiling.
Jimmy Mousouroulis, the DJ from LMS Entertainment, and the Jesse Elders Trio provided an entertaining mix of old and new music for dancing fueled by drinks from the bar and the guests’ private stock of kefi.
When the nattily attired guests entered – there were flappers flashing bling and would-be mobsters donning tuxes – they were offered hats, feather boas, and masks.
Dennisia Slabakis, the group’s co-founder and president, was asked if the theme was inspired by the last season of the TV show Boardwalk Empire. “No, we just took a vote,” she said. She was thinking about a cowboy theme. Maybe next year.
“The Carnival of Love Foundation, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to raising funds and awareness to enhance the quality of life, health and well-being of children in need,” according to the Foundation’s website.
Slabakis said they “ally with foundations that have programs in place that are educating kids.”
The week of the Foundation gave a $4250 check to “Wellness in the Schools,” that pays for a year’s worth of labs in public schools for pre-K to 8th grade where chefs give life-long lessons about healthy foods.
The Foundation also supports Coach for Kids, which sends coaches to schools who during recess encourage the less active children to participate more.
They also continue to support SNAC, the Special Needs Activities Center, which develops fitness programs for teens with autism. Slabakis noted by the time they become teenagers there are fewer programs to support them and help them with socialization, and SNAC helps fill the gap.
The fall Carnival raised $20,000 according to Slabakis, who added that they have donated more than $250,000 over 7 years.
Upcoming events include a photo shoot with Santa for Kids on November 19 and a community Holiday Party for adults at Melrose Ballroom on December 4. For more info visit www.carnivaloflove.org.