Log In   ·   Become A Member

Southampton Fresh Air Home Blasts Into Independence Day During Annual 4th Of July American Picnic

Lee Fryd

Dee Hickey, Stephen Hickey, Kirsten Solsvig Galef, Melanie Wambold, and Christl Meszlat. (Photo: David X Prutting/BFA.com)

Southampton Fresh Air Home's American Picnic with Fireworks by Grucci - to benefit their camp for physically challenged underserved youth - is a signature community celebration. The crowd, spanning all generations, gravitate to the white picnic tables and classic spread in one section of the benefit or the carnival for kids taking place in another. They all converge for the Grucci fireworks that shoot over the Shinnecock Bay.

"It's the old fashioned nostalgia that we all grew up with, which we love to see continue," SFAH Board President and Chairman of this year's Picnic, Kirsten Solsvig Galef, told Hamptons.com. She started coming to the fireworks 20 years ago. "My kids were very small and it became a summer tradition for us," she told us. "It was before I was even involved with the board, but I was very drawn to the event because of the connection with physically disable kids. I'd always worked with the Easter Seal Society as a high school student in the Midwest."

John Rohrbach, Charlotte Galef, James Galef, and Lily Galef. (Photo: David X Prutting/BFA.com)

"The picnic just has an old fashioned Americana appeal. Grucci does a fabulous job with the fireworks. We have a wonderful group of young families that come, as well as people up into their 90s," Galef shared. "This is the 15th summer Danielle and David Ganek have hosted it at their home. They're just incredibly generous and gracious - and it's great way to start off the holiday weekend."

There's always a multitude of happenings that appeal to all ages. "There's a carnival event that Kings does for us with everything from photo booths to the bouncy castle, so the parents can get a little break while the kids run around. There's an ice cream cart, popcorn station and cotton candy. They have face painting, arts and crafts. The kids come in red, white and blue outfits. We hand out neon necklaces they put on when the sun goes down and we get ready for the fireworks. And we have a band to dance to."

The Fresh Air Home has been providing a summer sanctuary for the past 116 years. "Some of the new campers come for a week because they get homesick," Galef said. "And we have a boy that is coming to us this summer from a homeless shelter and that will be with us the entire summer, to get him out of his situation. Our Camp Director, David Billingham is very good at getting to know the families and their situations. If there is somebody who's really in need, we try accommodate them for longer stays."

There is also outreach to the communities the kids live in, to take them to concerts and sports events, help them achieve their higher education goals and move into adult lives.
"We're now doing year round programs, where our campers and alumni come on the weekends," Galef said.

The 2017 American Picnic Honorary Chairmen were Michaela and Stephan Keszler. The American Picnic Chairmen included Kirsten Solsvig Galef, Nicky and Jamie Grant, Christl and Kenneth Meszkat, Nicole and Brett Pickett, Sarah and Izak Senbahar, with Stephanie and Steve Hessler and Dee and Stephen Hickey as American Picnic Vice Chairmen.

For more information, visit www.sfah.org.


Related Articles:

Be the first to comment on this article. (Just fill out the form below)

Submit Your Comment

Please note, you are not currently logged in. Your comment will be submitted as a guest.
To submit your comment as a member, please click here.
Your Name:
* Comments will be reviewed and posted in a timely fashion
* All fields are required
Please type the word 'water'
(For spam prevention, thanks)
Rosehip Partners Real Estate
Properties In The Hamptons

Southampton Masonry-Visiting the Southampton or the Wainscott locations is an exciting experience.
Southampton Masonry has been serving Long Island's masonry and tile needs since 1975. Delivering quality products from Manhattan to Montauk for over three decades. The company's continued success is due primarily to their number one priority: customer satisfaction, with a promise of prompt and courteous service from the professional, knowledgeable staff. Southampton Masonry has the largest inventory on the east end. As direct importers they can offer a large variety of the finest quality products at the most competitive pricing for both your interior and exterior projects.

Southrifty Drug 54 Jagger Lane, Southampton Village
Southrifty Drug is a small, neighborhood pharmacy with limited shelf space, and we have to be very selective about which over-the-counter items we carry. As a result you'll find a no nonsense concentration of very effective, high quality and useful products on our shelves. In this new section, we feature a number of these products that we feel are especially worthy of your consideration.

New York Title Abstract Services, Inc.
We are a title insurance services company dedicated to promptly delivering fully compliant and accurate reports, and title insurance, for residential and commercial real estate throughout New York State. Headquartered in the Hamptons, our professional team has extensive real estate experience and understands the business from all sides including title insurance, legal, sales, governmental, banking, and lending regulations.

Aimee Fitzpatrick Martin, Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker
Considered a West of the Shinnecock Canal expert with a 5-star Zillow ranking, Aimee specializes in the luxury and waterfront markets in Quogue, Westhampton Beach, Remsenburg, East Quogue and Hampton Bays. With exceptional communication skills and a buttoned-up approach to every deal, she is highly skilled in the art of the negotiation process. Understanding the nuances of buying and selling waterfront homes, especially on Dune Road, is a specialty.

Hamilton Hoge
As the owner’s representative our practice encompasses all aspects of a project from pre-purchase property due diligence, program development iterations, advisement on systems, analyze contracts/vendors, critical path analysis, feasibility and schedule. The strength of our approach is in facilitating organized communication. We strongly analyze all representations and warranties for the protection and benefit of our client.

The Citarella Standard. We’re passionate about sourcing and selling the world’s best seafood. When you order our fresh seafood online, what you receive always reflects the unrivaled standard of our markets. It’s hand-prepared, never frozen, and shipped overnight. 631-283-6600.