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The 56th annual Eesti Mängud was held in Lakewood from July 30 to August 1st. The events started Friday with golf at the Pine Barrens Country Club and ended with the volleyball finals played at the Lakewood Eesti Maja. There were nearly 300 participants in the various sporting events.

The weather was exceptional and some 45 campers set-up their tent sites Friday evening, including the Kungla folk dance troupe and friends who arrived by bus from Toronto.  Many guests came from the eastern seaboard states, including Florida.  The Kajakad (Girl Guide leaders) came from Estonia and we had Estonian volleyball players from Korea.  More tents were positioned on Saturday.

 

Bowling started Friday evening at 7:30 pm.  Twenty lanes were reserved at the Brunswick Lakewood Lanes and 91 bowlers of all ages and skill levels participated.

On Saturday there was track & field at Lakewood HS, swimming at the Ocean County YMCA and tennis at Pine Park.    There were large numbers of small children through teen-aged participants, along with their parents and grandparents.

Volleyball had 10 teams. The competition was based on 4-man teams, with women also playing.   A Latvian team competed with the various US Estonian teams and with teams from Toronto and Estonia.

Individual awards were given out at the track & field and swimming events.  The large contingent of young athletes then marched with the sports officials in the parade leading up to the awards ceremony and to the evening’s entertainment.  Katrina Pallop started the ceremonies with the US National Anthem.  Eesti Spordiliit USA-s President Carl Skonberg and the Lakewood Eesti Ühing President Priit Parming gave short speeches providing a brief overview of the weekend’s activities and thanking the workers, participants and on-lookers.  A special thanks was given to all who worked to build new roads, construct new sound and lighting towers and in general to prepare the grounds (in light of the County road construction project that forced numerous changes).  Katrina then led the crowd in singing the Eesti Hümn and the athletes then marched out.

A special soccer demonstration was provided by the Red Bulls Soccer club which amazed the audience.  A few young Estonians participated with the Red Bulls expert in performing soccer tricks and a Lindpere Jersey and soccer balls were given out via raffle.

Raimond Pals was presented a plaque and recognized as this year’s “au patron” for being a founding member, president, treasurer and life-long board members of Eesti Spordiliit.  The juhatus was especially pleased that Raimond accepted our invitation and was able to be there in person to receive his well deserved honors.

The event coordinators then handed out awards to the winners in golf, bowling, tennis, swimming and track & field.  The results will be posted in the Vaba Eesti Sõna and will also be found at the web site www.estonianhousenewyork.com.

The evening program began with singer Katrina Pallop performing three songs accompanied by her brother Shane Pallop on guitar.  The Long Island Children’s Camp performed three songs and several folk dances. The children’s dance program was choreographed by Tiina Vaska.   Toronto Kungla came out in full “rahvariided” and performed a “cabaret skit” as well as several advanced folk dances.  This was one of the longer programs in recent years and the stands and surrounding areas were full.  The crowd enjoyed all of the performances and several positive comments were received regarding the quality and diversity of the evening program.

AJ Laupa worked his magic as DJ inside both Friday and Saturday nights.  The dance floor was full as AJ played everything from Estonian folk music, to rock, to oldies, to hip-hop, etc.  You know it’s a good party when the biggest complaint is “why does it have to end so early?”  LEU had the upstairs and downstairs bars open serving cold drinks and the kitchen staff, led by Lya Parming, served the guests their fine, home cooked Estonian food.

We want to thank the Spordiliit and the LEÜ staff and others who helped in the various organizing and work efforts that made this weekend successful.  We thank also the performers, athletes, parents and guests.

We especially thank Peeter  Nielander, Toronto Kungla and their friends who made the long trip from Toronto and made this a special Lakewood Eesti Mängud weekend that we will all remember.

“Eesti sport ühendab”.

Eesti Spordiliit USA-s Juhatus

Carl Skonberg


 

 

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