By Jeanne Sager
LIVINGSTON MANOR January 20, 2004 Whether its negative 5 or a whopping 30 degrees, the Livingston Manor Ice Carnival is still the hottest thing around.
Forty-five years after the first Rotary-sponsored fair kicked off in the Manor, the residents of the Route 17 hamlet gathered again Sunday to celebrate a grand tradition.
They snacked on hot dogs and sipped hot chocolate to keep warm despite the snowy climes.
They signed their kids up for the big races, and they watched nationally ranked figure skaters take to the ice on their little rink in Rotary Park.
And with their children bundled up in snowsuits and scarves, the babies nestled snug in their strollers, they came in droves to the Livingston Manor Ice Carnival.
Event chairman Gary Siegel surmises there were more than 1,000 people on hand for the carnival, something he calls Manors great tradition.
Weve kept it hometown America, Siegel explained.
He should know. Forty-five years ago, Siegel was one of those babies bundled up to take part in the beginning of a Livingston Manor tradition. On that January day in 1959, Manor residents stopped by the school to watch their children race across the ice in small races.
Today, Siegel is a Rotarian and a major advocate of the carnival. Hes watched it grow from some childrens races to a fair complete with dog sledding, ice sculptures, horse-drawn sleigh rides and skating exhibitions.
Siegel now works with people who truly love what theyre doing for Manor.
From my perspective, this is the premiere event in the United States, said Rotary President Don Simkin with a laugh. Everybody who attends walks away with a smile.
And everybody who does this gets a lot of pleasure from doing it, he added.
The crowd at Sundays event was from near and far.
Beth and Mickey Bernitt of North Branch stopped by to give their daughter, McKinley, a chance to throw on her skates and take part in an old-fashioned outdoor race.
This was the couples first visit to the Manor carnival, but theyve always thought about driving over Shandalee to check it out.
It just sounded like a good event, Beth Bernitt said. Its a chance to get outside in the winter if youre not a skiier, what else do you do?
Other attendees came from as far as Long Island, like nationally ranked amateur skater Emily Hughes, the younger sister of Olympian Sarah Hughes.
The 14-year-old put on a skating exhibition for the third year in a row, wowing the crowd with her daring leaps off of the ice.
For her, the carnival is a chance to get out on the ice in an outdoor arena, a rarity in figure skating circles.
And shes enjoyed every trip to Manor.
Its been great every time, Hughes noted. Ive had so much fun.
This year, the young skater was joined by Rohene Ward, a senior mens medalist who awed onlookers with his muscular and precise skating.
Amateurs also took to the ice to show off what theyd learned at Kutshers ice skating rink in Monticello and at Ice Time in Newburgh.
Skaters of the Day were Emily Pomeroy and Danielle Fredenburg on the girls side, and Kenny Fisk and Matt Verderame on the boys.
The Royal Court which helped oversee the festivities included King Oliver Robinson and Queen Charlene Vail as well as their court, Allyson Coe, Emily Dalrymple, Kayls Stawowy, Marvin Bonilla, Derek Irwin and Curtis Williams. All of the students are juniors at Livingston Manor Central School.
Snow Sculpture Contest:
1st Place Class of 2004s Wild Stallion. Tegan Kern is class president, and Shirlee Davis is advisor.
2nd Place Class of 2007s Cowboy Boots and Spurs. Jackie Trotti is class president, and Mr. Hicks is advisor.
3rd Place Class of 2006s Everythings Bigger in Texas tied with Class of 2005s Guitar. Heather Sherwood is president of the Class of 2006, and Mrs. Woodard is the advisor. Kate Ellison is president of Class of 2005, and Mrs. Pomeroy is advisor.
Boys and girls, 6 laps 1st Bianca Plantamura, 2nd Julie Horn, 3rd AnnMary Bouchard.
Adults 19 and older, 6 laps 1st Dave Pollock, 2nd Mary Heinle.
Boys and girls 5 and younger, 1 lap 1st Alli Hemmer, 2nd Tara Roser, 3rd McKinley Bernitt.
Girls 6 and 7 years old 1st Melanie Reiser and 2nd Cynthia Roser.
Boys 6 and 7 years old 1st Matthew Janik, 2nd Brandon Williams, 3rd Douglas Williams.
Girls 8 and 9 years old 1st Emily Pomeroy, 2nd Linsay Kerney, 3rd Maggie Calo and Cynthia Zayas.
Boys 8 and 9 years old 1st Kenny Fisk, 2nd Victor Papa, 3rd Jon Hadden.
Girls 10-12 years old 1st Danielle Fredenburg, 2nd Emily Casey, 3rd Christina Babich.
Boys 10-12 years old 1st Brian Ortiz, 2nd Troy Corea, 3rd Ryan Eck.
Girls 13-15 years old 1st Tina Babich, 2nd Elizabeth Perry, 3rd Kaitlin McGrath.
Boys 13-15 years old 1st Matt Verderame, 2nd Mike Hendrickson, 3rd Kevin Gately.
Boys and girls 16-18 years old 1st Ollen Eck, 2nd August VanOsch.