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Kids go sledding, ice skating in Brentwood

Jasmine Townsend, 4, of Brentwood, sleds at the

Jasmine Townsend, 4, of Brentwood, sleds at the Winter by the Bay Festival in Brentwood. (Dec. 30, 2011) Credit: Kaitlynn Mannino

The lack of snow and temperatures hovering in the low 50s didn’t stop dozens of parents and children from enjoying the Winter by the Bay Festival in Brentwood on Friday afternoon.

The crowd of mostly elementary school children skated on a synthetic ice rink and sledded down a couple of snowy slopes during the free weeklong event that ended Friday at the Roberto Clemente Park.

The Town of Islip sponsored the festival and even provided a snow-making machine that created two slippery sledding hills. Many children, clad in T-shirts befitting the rather warm weather, slid down despite the slushy conditions.

Things began to resemble a laundry detergent commercial when small groups of kids covered in mud scampered up and down the icy expanse with dirt-smeared sleds in tow.

Large puddles at the bottom of each slope put a damper on a few young sledders like Jackie King and Lea Roitberg.

The 8-year-old girls had streaks of mud from melting snow on their jackets and pants after a couple of runs on their purple sled.

“I’m not doing that again,” said Lea when she and Jackie had climbed back up the hill after a messy but giggly ride.

Both girls seemed to prefer the ice skating rink constructed for the event. The “ice” was actually a hard plastic, slippery despite its non-water surface.

“She’s starting to get the hang of it,” said Argie Gemelas, of Bayshore, as she twirled her giggling 2-year-old daughter, Leeyana Stricklin, who didn’t seem to mind falling a few times.

But not all were impressed. A disappointed Charles King wore his Rangers jersey and brought a couple pairs of sharp skates before he realized that he was a bit over-prepared.

“I thought it was going to be real ice,” he said with a laugh.

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