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Copiague holiday fest offers ice skating, food trucks

Adalyn Janawsky, 6, of Babylon, meets Santa, played

Adalyn Janawsky, 6, of Babylon, meets Santa, played by Robert Reichel, during the Winter on the Bay festival at Katch Tanner Park in Copiague on Dec. 16, 2018.  Credit: Newsday/Thomas A. Ferrara

Baby, it was cold outside, but that didn’t stop friends Noreen Troy of Seaford and Tracey Pacifico of Levittown, both 49, from chilling — literally and figuratively — at the opening of the first Winter on the Bay Festival last weekend at Tanner Park in Copiague.

“We had two coquitos each — it was coconut tasting and creamy,” Pacifico said as she hoisted one of the rum-spiked coconut milk eggnogs, a hit at the festival, which continues at the park Friday through Sunday.

Pacifico and Troy, the latter wearing a Santa Claus hat, strolled along the park beachfront, took photos under the holiday lights and perused dozens of vendors spread out in a holiday market inside the fairgrounds’ circus-size heated tent.

“I think it’s fabulous that you have local crafts by people who live around town,” Troy said, with a smile.

Winter on the Bay, the newest addition to Long Island’s festival scene, offers a last blast of outdoor revelry as winter blusters in. Festivalgoers can embrace winter by skating on an all-weather outdoor ice skating rink, or dining al fresco at two dozen food trucks selling anything from Southern barbecue to crepes. Or they can escape to a cigar and bourbon bar inside an Airstream trailer, or the nightly “ugly sweater” party at Katch Drinks & Eats, the new park concession.

Kim Alfano, 32, of Shirley, who also attended on the opening weekend, braced herself from the cold with a winter punch garnished with whole cranberries. Alfano said the new festival offers “a warm environment for family and friends” in a season when, she noted, “there’s not a lot going on.”

Katch Janawsky, of Katch at Babylon Beaches, the Long Island-based company that took over the concession in May and renovated the Beach Hut, said, “We worked really hard to bring in a family fun environment.”

“I wanted families to be able to hang out and have some fun things to do in the Town of Babylon,” added Janawsky, a Sayville High School graduate who lives locally and whose husband, Jason, is also among the new restaurant’s four co-owners.

The focus on local businesses and family-oriented activities drew Matthew  Jordan, 32, of Babylon, to the fairgrounds.

“It takes a whole village to put on something like this, that is both kid and adult friendly,” Jordan said. The Valley Stream District 13 orchestra teacher  got into the holiday spirit by making a tree ornament at one of the holiday market booths.

The festival offers a number of other ways to adjust your holiday mood.  You can still don skates even if the temperatures hit the 50s as predicted this weekend, on a rink made of all-weather synthetic ice. ($10 additional charge). 

And there are liquid refreshments including hot cocoa, beer, hot buttered rum and S’mores cocktails.

At the Cuban Cigar & Bourbon Experience, a bar set up inside a cozy Airstream trailer, visitors can chill out.

Barbara Heaphy, 55, of Stony Brook, was relaxing on one of the trailer’s cushioned bench seats. “This is my first cigar . . . ,” said Heaphy, between sips of iced  bourbon.

Heaphy, who said she took tennis lessons at Tanner Park when she was growing up, felt nostalgic about returning to the South Shore. “I’m having a good time,” she said. “It’s a little trip down memory lane.”

WHEN | WHERE Friday, Dec. 21, 5-9 p.m.; Saturday, Dec. 22, noon-9 p.m.; Sunday, Dec. 23, noon-8 p.m., Tanner Park Beach,

400 Baylawn Ave., Copiague


ADMISSION $20/adults; $10/younger than 21; $50 family pack for two adults and two children. Ice skating: $10.

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