Scenes from opening day at Smith Point County Park

Smith Point County Park

Beachgoers and music lovers kicked off the unofficial start of summer with a grand opening Memorial Day weekend bash at Tiki Joe’s at Smith Point County Park Friday.

Along the boardwalk overlooking the ocean, locals got together to enjoy meals, friends and live music from the nine-piece local band 20 High View, which covers music from the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s.

Bartenders said the crowd Friday was ten times as busy as last weekend’s soft opening.

“I’ve never seen it this crowded,” said Jane Zederpaum, a Holbrook resident whose friend’s husband is in the band.

One guitarist strummed “What I Got” by Sublime as the rest of the band, which started 13 years ago, geared up for the performance.

“Last year was like a fire drill,” Maria Dileo, marketing and sales manager for J&B Restaurant Partners, which operates Tiki Joes, said. “A lot of the artists we wanted to have were already booked so we have the luxury of time this year; our hands weren’t tied to band schedules.”

This is the bar and grill’s second season at Smith Point, after winning a bidder contract to operate the concession stand in February 2018. Tiki Joe’s has six locations across the island, recently expanding to Tobay Beach and Bay Shore. 

A mix of young and old spread across the deck, fried food toppled on tables next to beers and ice cream. Dragonflies and kites whipped through the breeze as bodysurfers rolled through the small waves.

“We do all stuff that makes people want to dance and that’s really what it’s themed on,” Vincent Frangipane, lead guitarist of 20 High View, said. The band also dabbles with contemporary music that is in keeping with their niche.

The band shuffled through summer classics as the sun set over the nearly eighty people in attendance. Toward the end of the night, the crowd spilled out onto the dance floor to keep up with the upbeat tempo. One woman in a glittery purple birthday hat struck up a Congo line.

“We are just here for the opening day and got friends coming down,” John Mutt, gatekeeper for Oyster Park in Moriches Bay, said.

Mutt and his wife, Annie, have lived in Mastic Beach for over 40 years and come to Smith Point no matter the season. With them were other members of their local neighborhood watch.

“This will be our first official get together outside the group,” Mutt said.

Although the music isn’t everyone’s style, some came just to be with others.

Diane Palermo, who moved to Shirley from Brooklyn a few months ago and is an aide for disabled adults, attended with a young man she cares for. 

“He wanted to listen to music and he’s completely enjoying it.”

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