In the waning days of summer, the Erin Street Garden was the perfect setting for the 12th annual North End Garden Party — an old-fashioned shut-down-the-street block party where residents young and old mixed with stakeholders who support Middletown's 's efforts year round.
Even Patricia Charles, the Middletown Superintendent of Schools who took over leadership of the District on Aug. 1, showed up at the party and met some beloved Macdonough Elementary School teachers.
Principal Jon Romeo said he was thrilled Charles had stopped by the party — and it wasn't the first time. Charles joined Macdonough School teachers and staff during the week before school began this summer, knocking on students' doors, welcoming them to the 2012-2013 school year and drumming up excitement.
At Thursday night's party, children — first-graders to teens — served as waiters and waitresses, skillfully offering hors d'oeuvres from the likes of the Bridge, Empire Pizza, Fusion Bakery, It's Only Natural Restaurant, Tuscany Grill, O'Rourke's Diner, Lizzy B's Sweet Celebraitons, The Whey Station, Typhoon, Tandoor, the Kitchen at Billings Forge, Javapalooza, Metro Spirits, Iguanas y Ranas, Ford News Diner, New England Emporium, Mondo and a host of others.
Executive Director of NEAT Izzi Greenberg presented scholarships to Marcus Alcindor, Russhane Bowerise and William Ezell. Community Organizer Bobbye Knoll presented the Exceptional Gardener Award to Bill Peacock and Neighborhood Builder Award to Carie Gouldsborough.
Middletown Police Lt. Gary Wallace, who has been a champion of the North End for many years, gave a touching account about how he and his father spent meaningful years of his life in a garden, not unlike the Erin Street one, talking about life and bonding.
Music was provided by Bill Carbone and Friends, who offered a drum circle in the final hour of the event, in which children of all ages took part — some for the first time, with such exotic instruments as the Djemba.
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