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Come On In, The Ice Is Fine

Local skaters celebrate

National Skating Month

While each family celebrates the new year in their own way, skating enthusiasts and members of United States Figure Skating (USFS) have their own tradition: kicking off the year with a National Skating Month event at their local rink.

Throughout January, skating clubs across the country celebrate the sport by hosting a myriad of skating-themed activities to create a fun-filled afternoon, or in this case, morning. On Sunday, January 13th, Great Neck Figure Skating Club (GNFSC) kept over 120 skaters and their families entertained during two hours of festivities.

USFS is thrilled with the success of this initiation, saying 2013 is the largest participation in National Skating Month they’ve ever had.

“I couldn’t be happier with how our clubs, Basic Skills Programs and rinks across the country have embraced this golden opportunity to promote ice skating, inviting families in their communities to give skating a try,” Susi Wehrli-McLaughlin, Senior Director of Membership at USFS, told me.

One of the highlights for many children at GNFSC’s event was receiving a gift bag upon arrival, which included, among other things, a decorative towel to clean  their  skating blades and Snowplow Sam souvenirs.

Starting at 7:45 a.m., coaches Farah Gholamazad and Celeste Estrada led an on-ice skills class followed by a free skating session, with skaters of all levels gliding and dancing on the ice to popular tunes streamed through the speaker system. A bagel breakfast and hot chocolate was especially popular during breaks.

Last year, my sister Emily (2006 Olympian in Figure Skating) and I went to Albany, and skated on an outdoor rink at one of the National Skating Month events. Other National Skating Month events I’ve participated in over the years include ones in Atlantic City, Chicago, Sugarland. Tx., and New York City.

However, this was the first one I’ve been to where synchronized skating teams performed in an exhibition. “Team Image” and two teams representing the “Skyliners” dazzled the audience with their footwork, turns and moves done with great precision. The pre-juvenile “Skyliners” team entertained the audience with their Elvis Presley medley, fittingly dressed in matching white and gold dresses.

Following their numbers, I skated to “What I Did For Love,” from A Chorus Line.

One of the things that made this event special for me was being able to share it with my young nieces, who skate recreationally. “I really liked it,” Natalie Parker, 8, said. “It was so much fun. I loved the raffle and the freestyle skating. It was the best thing in the world!”

Alexandra Parker, also 8, agreed. “I just loved it,” she said. “It was great. If I could, I would’ve stayed at the rink for the rest of the week!”

A big thank you to Parkwood Pro Shop owner Phil Zhukovin for donating raffle items and to GNFSC President Cindy Zubli, Andy Rimar and Gigi Politoski for making this event a great success.

All portions of the morning were provided free by the Great Neck Figure Skating Club at the Parkwood Sports Complex on Arrandale Avenue.

News

Driving rain and cold temperatures could not keep Long Islanders from coming out to support the first annual DogFest Walk ‘n Roll, a fundraiser for Canine Companions for Independence. Held for the first time at Marjorie Post Park in Massapequa, dogs of all breeds and sizes came with their humans with one goal in mind; to raise funds for CCI.

Massapequa resident and event organizer Yvonne Dagger, past president and now board member, discussed the importance of the event.

For as long as she could remember, Christina Amato-Smith has always wanted to open her own hair salon. The Floral Park native worked at a salon down the road from her home, but it wasn’t until 1994 when Amato-Smith made good on her promise to herself.

“I came to Bethpage to open my business because my clients were here,” said Amato-Smith, who now lives in Lindenhurst and has owned Top Cuts for 20 years.

While her business has been met with much success, in 2008, Amato-Smith’s personal life was met with a life altering challenge when she was diagnosed with stage three breast cancer. It was this event that prompted Top Cuts to organize a cut-a-thon to raise funds and awareness for breast cancer. This year’s event occurs on Saturday, Nov. 1.


Calendar

4th Annual Harvest Festival

Saturday, Oct. 25

Health and Wellness Senior Fair

Tuesday, Oct. 28

Haunted Halloween

Wednesday, Oct. 29



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