Don Oriolo entertains Vernon seniors

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  • Don Oriolo plays and sings as he entertains at the gathering.

  • Barbara “Bobbie” Mracek displays her vintage Felix the Cat T-shirt. “Righty-O”, it was drawn by Don Oriolo.

  • PHOTOS BY JANET REDYKEDiane Simon holds Blackjack the pony as Natalie, Greta, Gemma and Kaylie wait for Winter Pony Club class to begin.

The Vernon Township Senior Center celebrated their annual Valentine’s Day party on the day Feb. 14 to a packed center. Every table in the center was filled as the mostly red clad seniors enjoyed a full course luncheon, decadent dessert and each other’s company.

This year’s entertainment was local Don Oriolo, a fixture in art, television, movies, music and philanthropic and charitable work. Oriolo’s father Joe was the creator of the Felix the Cat cartoon. After his 1985 passing, son Don successfully took over the franchise and continues the hi-jinx of the “wonderful cat.”

A very prolific individual, Oriolo was named Artist of the Year in 2015 by Fine Art magazine. Recently, his painting of Felix the Cat was presented to the Russian Tea Room in New York City. The artwork was of Felix, naturally, sipping a cup of tea. In January, 2017, Oriolo opened his own art gallery, the Zazoo Fine Art Gallery in Key West, Florida.

Musically, Oriolo has produced and published music and worked alongside the likes of Gloria Gaynor, Dr. Hook, Meatloaf, the Bee Gees, Donna Summer among others. He is also the owner of the Oriolo Guitar Company which designs and manufactures different types of guitars, many with the Felix image. Currently, he is anticipating the release of his new album Another Day to be Happy.

Oriolo owns the Blue Arrow Farm in the Warwick, N.Y., area. It serves as a horse rescue farm and will possibly be renovated to serve as a wedding venue and entertainment center. An independent film entitled The Sheriff and the Outlaw is being filmed on the farm.

An animal lover, Oriolo made local news in the summer of 2018 when he and his organization Kittens with a Mission were instrumental in the rescue of over 150 cats in a hoarding situation in Wantage.

Oriolo entertained the seniors for the afternoon with lively familiar songs that spiked memories and humorous stories of real life and good feelings.

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