Lifetime Achievement Award: Frank Greco
Frank Greco was born 1926 in Pleasant Plains, Staten Island, NY where he grew up and attended Tottenville High School. Afterwards, he took up an apprenticeship in a machine shop making airplane parts and enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1944 where he was sent to boot camp at Sampson, NY, near Lake Geneva. Greco volunteered for the U.S. Navy Armed Guard, a service branch of the United States Navy that was responsible for defending U.S. and Allied merchant ships from attack by enemy aircraft, submarines, and surface ships during World War II. After the war, he tried his hand at a number of trades including television engineering, iron working, and marine carpentry; he finally settled on long-haul trucking, working for many years with Consolidated Freightways. During the 1960s, he was active in the reform movement of the teamsters. He retired to Edison, NJ, where he has been active in civic affairs including the open space committee. For the last 10 years, Greco has been the most loyal and enthusiastic volunteer at the New Jersey Folk Festival, where he has worked tirelessly for long hours in festival set-up.
Honorary Grand Marshal: Vedat Alp
Vedat Alp is a successful entrepreneur and strong supporter of community non-profit organizations. Alp was born in Turkey and migrated to the United States in 2000. He studied Business Administration & Risk Management and is the Founder & Managing Director of Alp Insurance & Financial Services Inc. His bi-cultural background and focus on community collaboration has led him to a number of volunteer opportunities and community leadership roles. He has served in several boards and currently serves as President of Cliffside Park Chamber of Commerce. Cliffside Park has the highest percentage of Turkish Americans living in the U.S. He is married and resides in Cliffside Park, N.J.
Honorary Chair: Michael Gabriele
Michael Gabriele is the author of “New Jersey Folk Revival Music – History and Tradition,” his third book on Garden State history published by The History Press/Arcadia Publishing. The book, released in December 2016, provides a chronological narrative on the evolution of folk revival music in the Garden State, and examines how folk revival music has changed lives—those on stage and those in the audience.
Gabriele’s two previous books are “The Golden Age of Bicycle Racing in New Jersey,” and “The History of Diners in New Jersey.” The second book served as a key reference source for three museum exhibits on Garden State diner history, held at Lambert Castle in Paterson; the Cornelius Low House/Middlesex County Museum in Piscataway; and the Morris Museum in Morristown.
During the last 7 years Gabriele has been invited to present programs on his books at more than 50 libraries, civic organizations, historical societies and museums throughout the state. A lifelong New Jersey resident, he’s a 1975 graduate of Montclair State University and has worked as a journalist and freelance writer for four decades. He’s a member of the executive board of the Nutley Historical Society and serves on the advisory board of the Clifton Arts Center.
Honorary Director: Nikolai Burlakoff
Nikolai Burlakoff is of Russian heritage. He has had a long and distinguished career as a compiler, translator, photographer, writer, editor, and publisher. Trained in political science, history, literary studies, folklore, Russian language, and Buddhism, he has used the skills for many years in service to the New Jersey Folk Festival as board member, researcher, and fieldworker. His extensive knowledge of and dedication to the field of folklore and cultural preservation has been both a source of guidance and practical implementation for our organization in our efforts to showcase traditional cultures. He has advised us on selection of participants, budgeting, administration, funding, legal considerations, staffing,
publicity, and the actual production of the events. Most recently, he connected us with an extremely under-represented ethnic group with a strong representation in New Jersey, This resulted in a very successful festival for us, as well as an ongoing connection with that group. It also brought the group opportunities at a national level and significantly contributed to the recognition and preservation of their traditional culture. It has been a pleasure to work with Nikolai and his involvement has greatly benefited our organization.
Grand Marshal: Mark Quiet Hawk Gould
Mark Quiet Hawk Gould is the elected chief of the Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape Tribal Nation. His ceremonially given name is Chitkwesit Mexhaniat, which in English is Quiet Hawk. It describes his relationship with the Creator; he is quiet before him, but rarely quiet with people. He has served in tribal leadership for over four decades. The tribal headquarters is located in Bridgeton and the tribal cultural center is located on 51 acres in Fairton, both in Cumberland County, NJ. Most of the tribal members live and have always lived in Cumberland and Salem Counties. The Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape Tribal Nation is one of the three interrelated tribes of the area of the Delaware Bay. It is made up of the American Indian families from southern New Jersey and the Delmarva Peninsula who remained in their ancestral homeland after many of their relations were removed to the west and to the north as far as Oklahoma and Canada. Chief Gould is also vice president of the Native American Advancement Corporation (NAAC), a non-profit agency operated by the tribe that provides weatherization through an initiative under the Department of Energy.