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Bay Shore Independence Day celebration brings old-fashioned feel to Main Street

Helena Pramataris, 4, of Lindenhurst, spins a bowl

Helena Pramataris, 4, of Lindenhurst, spins a bowl on a stick with the help of children's entertainer Lou Johnson at Bay Shore's annual children's Main Street Independence Day celebration coordinated by the Bay Shore-Brightwaters Public Library and the Greater Bay Shore Chamber of Commerce. (July 3, 2013) Credit: Quinn O'Callaghan

Lou Johnson was the center of attention at the community bandshell in Bay Shore’s Dr. George S. King Park on Wednesday night.

Clad in a sequined, American flag-patterned suit, the children’s entertainer juggled, joked and performed magic tricks as more than 100 children looked on intently.

Event coordinator Linda Clark was equally rapt even though she was busy inflating balloons for children who had migrated away from Johnson.

“I mean, just look at him,” said Clark between filling balloons. “He’s genuinely amazing.”

The event, which has been running for about a decade, had a decidedly old-Main Street feel. The annual children’s Independence Day Main Street celebration featured face painting, children’s entertainers, arts and crafts, and free ice cream from Bay Shore’s own Coyle’s Ice Cream. There wasn’t an iPad in sight.

“The family aspect of the event was the best part,” said McKinley Seyda, 35, of Bay Shore, as his 3-year-old daughter Kerra waved a pair of American flags. “It’s old school fun.”

Clark, the head of children’s services at the Bay Shore-Brightwaters Public Library, which co-hosts the event with the Greater Bay Shore Chamber of Commerce, estimated that more than 500 people attended Wednesday’s event, despite the drizzly weather.

“I was a little worried about the weather, but this is great,” she said. “We normally draw about this many people every year.”

Shawni Turner, of Bay Shore, brought her daughter Natasha Morozov, 4, to the celebration. She said she appreciated the chance to support her local library and be a part of the community. Her daughter had another preference -- “Natasha loves the ice cream,” she said.

Leila Zelezny, of Bay Shore, was impressed with the celebration, but said she didn’t know about it beforehand. She and her son Jacob, 3, only came upon the event while she was out picking up lunch, and she said Jacob was immediately sucked in.

“It was so much fun, Jacob had such a great time,” she said. “It was really cute, old fashioned. I liked it a lot.”

Toward the end of the event, Clark watched on as a pair of boys competed on a clown-shaped bag-toss board.

“These two came up to me and asked ‘What is that?” Clark said, shocked that they had never seen the game before. “Now you can’t keep them away from it.”

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