Saint Mary’s Bizarre Bazaar: Dancing Sisters, Gambling, All in Honor of the Virgin Mary!!!

This might be like the 20th festival of the ‘Summer of 2019” for me in my hometown of Binghamton, New York! Where did the 3 months go?

Let me tell you that the St. Mary’s Bazaar is a lot of fun and also a quite bizarre too!

I love the Statue of the Virgin Mary right in the tent amidst the festivities! And the Dancing Sisters were a joyous celebration showcasing what this event is all about—community, charity, and faith!

Quite interesting that the mascot of the Binghamton Devils, a professional ice hockey team in the American Hockey League was present among the sinners, saints, and the somebodies of Greater Binghamton (lots of politicians and judges working the crowd with hopes of being elected in November)! All are welcomed, including me so who cares!

I did note that there were more people dancing to the rock n’ roil band than doing the polka at earlier festivals! Plus they had real Black Jack (21)! The Church wins ties which were my first 3 hands, than I got hot and was a winner and took my winnings over the Big 6 and lost it all for a good cause! Pick a number in Big 6 and stick with it would be my advice!

Then there was time for I look inside the Recreation Center where I played against St. Mary’s for the St. Cyril’s CYO basketball team. Nice rosters of the championship teams! Undefeated CYO Champions in the 2009-2010 Season? What happened to the St. Cyril’s team?


CLICK HERE for a Video of the Dancing Sisters!!!

Then there was Marge the Lupini Lady (present one) in matching blue horizontal stripes? Never had a lupini before and never realized St. Mary’s was an Italian parish? Never made the nearby Sons of Italy connection! You learn something new about your hometown every day!

Then there was the food! Highly recommend the Eggplant Parmigiana and Meatball sandwiches. And the cannolli was great!

What a fun evening!

(Andy Reistetter; Facebook Posts (2) with 30 Pics & 1 Video; 8-9-19)

“Stay-Vacation:” We Love Binghamton and Broome County!!!

‘Stay Vacation Day’ today in my hometown of Binghamton, New York in the Summer of 2019!

Picking blueberries at Miller Family Farm; visiting Chenango Valley State Park; buying a hickory club at a garage sale for $10; lunch at the Spiedie & Rib Pit; spending the afternoon at Roberson Museum and Science Center including two Planetarium shows & visiting the mansion with no one else around; a couple of carousel rides; enjoying the sunset, view, & dinner at Traditions Hotel and Spa; & having a nightcap at Abel’s Pub!

TROML Baby (an exclamation of Joy and Gratitude)!!!

(Andy Reistetter; Facebook Post with 28 Pics; 8-7-19)

2019 Spiedie Fest: Balloons, Friends, & Spiedies; both Salimida’s & Lupo’s!!!

With Rob Salimida and a Salimida Spiedie!

With Rob Salimida and a Salimida Spiedie!

With Steve & Sam Lupo and the whole Lupo's Team!!!

With Steve & Sam Lupo and the whole Lupo’s Team!!!

And so it begins! Lupo’s vs. Salamida Spiedie War! Which one is better & why?

In the Otsiningo Park my brother designed Binghamton was rock n’ rolling again tonight! Even though updrafts & a questionable atmosphere kept the balloons from taking off (a couple were tethered for a bit), there was an amazing celebratory spirit present! Jefferson Starship was amazing, fun, & very talented and brought the house down! Thank you to all Law Enforcement agencies & officers for insuring our public safety at this event! Outstanding organization, planning, & execution by David Pessagno! Salamida Spiedies were awesome! Lupo’s tomorrow & who knows maybe even a balloon ride too!

CLICK HERE for all of the Lupo’s Spiedie Pics!!!

CLICK HERE for all of the Salimida’s Spiedie Pics!!!

Part 2 of Day 1 of the 35th annual Spiedie Fest & Balloon Rally … more pics… Jefferson Starship… I love the diversity of fun, talent, & people of this event & OUR Greater Binghamton, aka The Triple Cities, aka Endicott, Johnson City, & Binghamton COMMUNITY!!!

Balloon Rally & Launch at 7 am Saturday! WOW, look at this signature, special, & creative Balloon! Do you know or care to guess what it is?

There she (or he or it) goes!!!

CKICK HERE for Video of the Balloon Launch!!!

2019 Spiedie Fest & Balloon Rally! About 30 balloons rallied and we had us a Spectacular Balloon Launch at 7am on a calm, tranquil, & beautiful Saturday morning in Greater Binghamton, New York! How do you pick only 30 pics to post? Country Day at Otsiningo Park with Tessa Victoria at 4:30 pm & Hunter Hayes at 6:30 pm! Hope to see you out there celebrating the Balloons, The Spiedies, & our lovely Greater Binghamton Community! TROML Baby (an exclamation of Joy & Gratitude)!!!

Late launch but launching tonight!

CLICK HERE for Pics of the Balloon Launch!!!

Saturday, Day 2, Part 2 of the 2019 Spiedie Fest & Balloon Rally!

Lupo’s S&S Charpit Spiedies today! Met brothers Sam and Steve Lupo and Sam’s son Elliot who took the family corner grocery store that also had specialty meats like veal and lamb and made it into the Lupo’s of today! Now I know what the ‘S&S’ stands for! Sam gave credit to the Iacovelli Family for originating the notion of spiedies (marinated meat cooked on skewers)! The Lupo’s lamb spiedies were very tasty! So which spiedie marinade do you like the best- Lupo’s or Salimida’s???

Another big balloon launch in the evening once the weather cleared! So beautiful and inspiring! Takes you back to the Wizard of Oz with all things being possible even if only in our dreams! I love the intimacy of the gallery watching and the balloonists and their balloons and launch procedure! It’s like someone putting down a lawn chair in your living room (or parlor as we say in the Triple Cities) and watching all the household action up close and personal! The Signature Balloon this year is the yellow Saxophone!

CLICK HERE for Pics of the People of the 2019 Spiedie Fest & Balloon Rally!!!

Binghamton’s own Tessa Victoria was sensational and the crowd loved her even as she played through a brief rainstorm! I met Tessa and her mother Tess and you don’t have to be a genius to see where her beauty comes from! The family once owned the local Pat Mitchell ice cream business! Now there is a scoop for you Kate Hogancamp Packer, suits and all!

The night’s headline act belonged to Hunter Hayes and like Tessa the crowd was present and loud in their approval between songs! Loved his hit single ‘One Good Reason!’

What a day! Morning Balloon Launch, Lupo’s Spiedies, Tessa Victoria, Evening Balloon Launch, and Peter Hayes! Then to top it off a policeman alerted a bunch of us that the Space Station was going to be passing overhead and there it was like a shooting star although slow enough to easily track its progress!

What an amazing day at the Spiedie Fest & Balloon Rally! Lots more than ‘One Good Reason’ to come out tomorrow Sunday for the 3rd and final day!

We are talking Kansas, the band, not Dennis Berkholtz’s college stomping grounds! 4 pm! Morning and Evening Balloon Launches too!

With Ahmad… my fellow ‘Me Generation,’ folks; let’s make “Love for All; Hatred for None’ happen in our generation… let’s convert our ‘Me’ generation to the ‘Spiritual Me’ generation! TROML/SSS Baby (an exclamation of Joy & Gratitude)!!! — at Spiedie Fest.

Today’s Balloon Launch pics in their entirety!

Third & Final Day of the 2019 Spiedie Fest & Balloon Rally! Balloons launched in the morning but not this evening due to high winds! Kansas rolled into town & put on a great concert as did local singer/songwriter Matthew Cornwell! And there were more spiedies to be consumed! Some pics from today & some balloons from yesterday! What a great event! We love Binghamton!

A total of ten Facebook posts with 179 pics and videos of spiedies, friends, balloons, and smiles!

We love Binghamton and the Spiedie Fest & Balloon Rally! Thanks Saggy!




Honor America Days Concert & Fireworks at Fort Stanwix in Rome, New York!

Honor America Days Concert & Fireworks at Fort Stanwix in Rome, New York!

I missed the morning parade but enjoyed the Symphoria Symphony Orchestra Pops Concert and the Fireworks and Cannon Fire! Yes, real, authentic, and loud Canon Fire!

“Symphoria will perform popular show tunes, rousing marches, and a celebration of the American spirit at 8pm at Fort Stanwix National Monument, along with cannon fire, the ringing of church bells, and a spectacular fireworks display!”—from the city’s website.

I missed hearing the church bells probably due to the explosive and loud cannon fire! No worries as I live next to a church with a bell tower that rings the bells on the hour from 9 am to 6 pm! Not that I am ever home or awaken by them!

The Fort Stanwix National Monument Marinus Willett Visitor Center is oustanding!

Worth the drive especially if you have family & friends in the area to enjoy the experience with!

God Bless America!

My Heritage, My Favorite: St. Cyril & Methodius’ Slovak Festival!!!

Another festival attended in Binghamton during the Summer of 2019! This one, the Slovak Festival at St. Cyril’s is dear and near to my heart as I grew up in this parish, was part of the youth group, and played CYO Basketball for the Panthers! Amazing how you cannot live in an area for 40+ years and so many people recognize you and tell you stories about your Mom and Dad, some of which I never heard of knew!

This year there was reunion of all St. Cyril’s students and CYO members organized by Karen Kumpon Oliva! Thank you Karen! Thank you Karen! The scrapbooks were amazing! So much church history! I did not realize St, Cyril’s was a powerhouse CYO basketball team back to the 1950s! Or that we were the first to have air-conditioning!

I think that makes TWELVE local festivals so far in the Summer of 2019: the Annunciation Greek Festival; the Bundy Museum/First Friday; the St. Anthony’s Italian Feast; the Owego Strawberry Festival; Binghamton’s Juneteenth Celebration; the Sacred Heart Ukrainian Festival; the Montrose Fourth of July Parade; Julyfest; the St. John’s Ukrainian Days; the Harper M. Stanz Rec Park Music Fest; the Martini Walk and the St. Cyril’s Slovak Festival!

And the BIG one is coming up in two weekends—the Spiedie Fest & Balloon Rally at Otsiningo Park!

St. Cyril’s CYO

St. Cyril’s Binghamton

St. Cyril’s Homecoming Reunion

(Andy Reistetter; 7/22/19; Facebook Post with 30 Pics)

Downtown Binghamton’s Martini Walk & Sip has Twenty-One Stops!

Another spectacular & memorable day in Downtown Binghamton with the Martini Walk & Sip! Did all 21 stops although “The Loft at 99” had to withdraw so there was a net 20 stops in 5 hours (15 minutes per including in between walking)! A few years ago I happened to be driving through downtown and saw a lot of people walking and having fun. Since then I have always wanted to do it! Too young for the Clinton Street bar run so this is the modern day, more sophisticated version! Greater Binghamton is really an upscale area!

By happenstance I met the original foursome—Michael, Darlene, Cathy, & Joe—who started this 7 years ago and haven’t missed a sip yet! Best I could tell they left work early to release some steam and stopped at 10 places! Likely was full-sized martinis so who knows if they ever went back to work after that!


Highlights from this afternoon showcasing the variety, creativity, & beauty of the host venues in no particular order… FROZEN passion fruit jalapeno martini at Dos Rios Cantina… blue-COLORED Spotlight martini… BASEMENT drinking at Sake-Tumi… FREE BUFFET at Thai Time… scary HALLOWEEN theme at Amici… the Marconi Tower by the Lackawana train station renamed the MARTINI Tower (just a thought for next year along with a creative Martini Walk & Sip T-Shirt contest)… first MARTINI plastic glasses at Spotlight… real Martini GLASSES at Amici and Remliks… slice of PIZZA and tasty tropical martini at Little Venice…

FULL-SIZE martini (working reporter here on assignment!) at The Garage—Molly’s BIG Martini… COFFEE BEAN in the mocha chocolata ya-ya martini at Lost Dog Cafe… SECRET OPENING at 205 Dry on State Street… WEDDING PARTY at River Bistro (think they met in the early afternoon on the Martini Walk but where did they get the clothes so quickly… GUMMY BEAR in the martini at Burger Mondays… and chased down the 20 martini sips with a fantastic chicken spiedie CHEESESTEAK (my first ever!) at South City Publick House and a shameful Summer S’more MILKSHAKE at Craft…

What a day!

We Love Binghamton (and 20 different sips of martinis)!!!

(Andy Reistetter; 7/20/19; Facebook Post with 30 Pics)

Another Great PAST Event: Touring the Roberson Mansion on Front Street in Binghamton!!!

I am a member off the Preservation Association of the Southern Tier (PAST) and went on the PAST Mansions of Binghamton Tour! Roberson, Kilmer, and Phelps (toured on First Friday). Great organization with lots of fun and interesting activities!

Here are some of my pics of the Roberson Mansion tour and some information from the Roberson Museum and Science Center website…

So Who Were The Robersons?

Alonzo Roberson Jr., the son of Alonzo Roberson Sr. and Lydia Titus Roberson, was born in Binghamton, NY on November 16, 1861. His father, a carpenter, had moved to Binghamton about 1852. An astute businessman as well as a craftsman, Alonzo Sr. purchased the Marsh and Gilbert Lumber Company and renamed it the Alonzo Roberson Company. Alonzo Jr. married Margaret Hays, a Binghamton school teacher, on December 21, 1887.

In 1904 they decided to move from their Main Street home to the prestigious Front Street/ Riverside Drive area of Binghamton. They hired C. Edward Vosbury, a prominent Binghamton architect, to design the house. Vosbury designed an Italian Renaissance Revival style house with all of the modern conveniences. The plan included an elevator, central heat, combination gas and electric lighting fixtures, a dumb waiter, and our intercom system, and a private bath for each bedroom. As in most large homes in the area, there was a billiard room and a ballroom on the third floor. The design also incorporated a three-story servants’ wing in the back of the house.

Mr. Roberson chose the New York City firm of Pottier & Stymus to design the interior of the house. The final design called for silk damask stretched on the walls of the reception room and the library-living room. The Main Hall was painted, stippled and glazed before being decorated with Dutch metal, stenciling, and hand-painted decorations. Each room on the first floor has a different type of woodwork.

The Buffalo firm of Townsend & Fleming was hired to landscape the grounds. A tall wrought-iron fence, designed by the architect and manufactured by Titchener Iron Works, enclosed the property. The home was completed in May of 1907 at an estimated cost of $107,500 for the house, stable, fence, and landscaping.

Alonzo died May 16, 1934. At the time of his death, he was President of the Roberson & Son Lumber Co. and Chairman of the Board of Marine Midland Bank. His will provided for the establishment of “an education center” in the Front St home after its use by his widow. The Roberson Memorial Center opened to the public in 1954.

Our story starts in 1934 when Roberson Memorial, Inc was established by the will of Alonzo Roberson, to create an “educational center … for the use and benefit of all people.” The Roberson Memorial Center (as it was first called) opened to the public in 1954 in the Roberson Mansion. At that time, the Binghamton Museum of Fine Arts transferred its collections to Roberson. This was only the beginning of amazing things to come….

Roberson’s vision to be a nationally recognized museum for the study and interpretation of history, art and science was realized when, in 1966, Roberson commissioned the world-renowned architect, Richard Neutra to design a major addition.

This addition, also known as the Martin Wing after Roberson’s first Director, Keith Martin, houses several galleries, administrative offices and the region’s only Digital Planetarium, a true asset to the Greater Binghamton area.

In 1984 the A. Ward Ford wing was added to house our modern vaults and collections preparation space, and now holds the Decker Life Science Center.

In 1996, the Roberson Mansion’s carriage house was renovated as a multipurpose educational center, complete with Clayworks, a modern pottery studio. Also, a New York State Heritage Area Visitor Center addition, owned by the city but operated in partnership with Roberson, was built.

Present Day

Roberson Museum and Science center continues to be locally, regionally and nationally recognized for it’s excellence in art, history and science education. Our offerings in events, exhibits and educational programs remain unmatched in the region as we strive to continue to deliver a unique and engaging experience for all visitors!

(Andy Reistetter; 7/15/19; Facebook Post with 30 Pics)

Another Great PAST Event: Touring the Kilmer Mansion on Riverside Drive in Binghamton!!!

Another great Preservation Association of the Southern Tier event touring the Kilmer Mansion on Riverside Drive!

Here are my pictures and some background information from Treasures of the Tier; And Then There Was One… The last of four Riverside mansions is alive and well, and open to the public.

In 1890 many of Binghamton’s wealthiest families lived in palatial mansions just west of the Chenango River on Riverside Drive. At that time four mansions lined the south side of the drive. The first was the residence of prominent industrialist Robert Rose, to the west were the homes of his brother Edward and Willis Sharpe Kilmer. The fourth residence, the one with bronze gargoyle lamps by the front door, was that of Jonas M. Kilmer, father of Willis and president of the Kilmer Swamp Root Company.

Three of the mansions are long gone, but thank God (literally,) Jonas Kilmer’s Mansion was spared when it was purchased in 1950 by Temple Concord for use as a synagogue.

Shortly after the Kilmer estate was sold the Willis Kilmer and Edward Rose mansions were leveled and replaced by an apartment complex. The remaining Rose Mansion was demolished in 1980, this despite its designation as a National Historic Landmark and against strong opposition by the Binghamton community. A vacant overgrown lot is all that remains.

The Kilmer mansions were designed by noted Binghamton architect C. Edward Vosbury. Born in Windsor, New York, Vosbury moved to Binghamton and designed residences for many of this area’s wealthiest families. His designs are typically large and elaborate, sparing no expense on interior finish and detail. Other surviving examples of Vosbury’s work locally are the Roberson Mansion on Front Street and the Binghamton and former Johnson City High Schools.

A large, two and a half story stone structure, the Jonas Kilmer Mansion is distinctive with its variety of gables, turrets, balconies and towers. Constructed in 1898, the cost to build and furnish the residence was reported at the time to be one million dollars.

(Andy Reistetter; 7/15/19; Facebook Post with 30 Pics)

The Harper M. Stanz Rec Park Music Fest; A Life Memorial to a Spirited Young Lady!!!

CLICK HERE for a Tribute Video to Harper Stanz of her Rec Park Music Fest!!!

Sunday in Rec Park at the Harper M. Stanz Rec Park Music Fest was one of those days in life that takes you from 0 to 80 miles in a split second and takes you around the whole journey of life- birth, growing up, figuring out who you are, loving, celebrating life and a reminder that we all have a common destiny at the end and we do not know the time…

In the park I grew up in- Rec Park! a rock concert with some bluegrass where you bring a blanket, find a spot amongst the trees, sneak in a little liquid refreshment and just kick back and enjoy the day. Binghamton, my hometown at its finest!

Then knowing a 16-year old girl named Harper Stanz, a high school junior, should have been here too, celebrating life. But she is not, the innocent victim of a drugged driver who crossed over the line and ran her and her friend Britney down while they were walking home on the sidewalk after playing some social tennis at Rec Park.

Binghamton is an intimate and authentic community. What can you do other than hug the parents and the aunt, cry along with them, and hope and pray they go on loving life and each other the best that they can and surely how Harper wants them to… and go take a ride on the merry-go-round same as you did as a kid feeling grateful to be alive and trying to be an open-minded and open-hearted as you can be,,,

The music fest in its 23rd year was renamed in honor of Harper.

In the pics, you can see her name in six big letters H-A-R-P-E-R and feel her presence looking down from Heaven with blessings and strength for her family and friends to carry on in life until they see her again.

I did not know Harper but feel fortunate to celebrate her life in the park we both grew up in. May God infinitely bless Harper Stanz and her family and friends. It was a beautiful day in the park with the sun setting amongst the trees and the full moon rising in sync with each other.

Memorial contributions can be made to the Harper Stantz Memorial Scholarship Fund, C/O Visions Federal Credit Union, 24 McKinley Avenue, Endicott, NY 13760.

(Andy Reistetter; 7/15/19; Facebook Post with 30 Pics)

Harper Stanz was tragically killed by a drugged driver 4 months ago innocently walking home with her friend Britney after playing tennis at Recreation Park. The music fest in its 23rd year was renamed in honor of Harper.

In the video, looking up, you can see her name in six big letters H-A-R-P-E-R and feel her presence looking down from Heaven with blessings and strength for her family and friends to carry on in life until they see her again.

I did not know Harper but feel fortunate to celebrate her life in the park we both grew up in. May God infinitely bless Harper Stanz and her family and friends. It was a beautiful day in the park with the sun setting amongst the trees and the full moon rising in sync with each other.

Memorial contributions can be made to the Harper Stantz Memorial Scholarship Fund, C/O Visions Federal Credit Union, 24 McKinley Avenue, Endicott, NY 13760.

(Andy Reistetter; 7/15/19; Facebook Post with 1 Video)

Celebrating St. John’s 92nd Annual Ukrainian Weekend Festival!!!; Where is Alice???

Me and the nicest Ukrainian lady I ever met!

Me and the nicest Ukrainian lady I ever met!

The St. John’s 92nd Annual Ukrainian Days/Weekend Festival!!!

CLICK HERE for the VIDEO of Alice Dancing!!! Who is; Where is Alics???

My second Ukrainian Festival of the Festival Season in the ‘Valleys of Spiritual Growth!’ Need I say more? Talk less, eat more! Eat less, dance more! Dance more, love more! Love more, live more! TROML Baby (an exclamation of JOY)!!!

(Andy Reistetter; 7/14/19; Facebook Post with 30 Pics and 1 Link)

CLICK HERE for the Sacred Heart Ukrainian Festival!!!

Anybody know who this Alice is? I hope she shows up again on Sunday! Lots of fun, food, drink, & dancing!

(Andy Reistetter; 7/14/19; Facebook Post with 1 Video)