By Ted Waddell
LIVINGSTON MANOR February 1, 2005 It seems like a lot of local folks just can't get enough of winter.
Although the 46th Annual Livingston Manor Rotary Ice Carnival had to be postponed twice due to winter storms, hundreds of people turned out over the weekend to attend the popular event.
The carnival kicked off on Saturday as teams of Livingston Manor Central School 9th-12th graders, along with community organizations, gathered at Rotary Park to construct snow sculptures based on this year's theme, "A Night in Vegas."
Marty Stahl and friends were at their usual creative best with a huge snow sculpture of a gold-painted sphinx from ancient Egypt.
1st Place: Class of 2008 "Gambling," Shaka Parker and Melissa Lair (co-presidents); Anne Formato and Elizabeth Cook (advisors).
2nd Place: Class of 2006 "Cards," Miranda Zeininger (president); Cindi Woodard (advisor).
3rd Place: Class of 2007 "Sin City," Jackie Trotti (president); Charlie Hicks (advisor).
4th Place: Class of 2005 "Roll the Dice," Kate Ellison (president); Laurie Allen-Kuehn and Sandra Frattarelli (advisors).
Judging the sculptures were Burt Ledina (an actual Sullivan County judge), Barbara Gref (publisher of The Towne Crier), Greg Goldstein (Sullivan County District 3 legislator), Barry Lewis (Sullivan County editor of the Times-Herald Record) and event chairman Gary Siegel.
Prior to the judging of the fanciful snow sculptures, Rohene Ward, Puerto Rico's 2005 national figure skating champion and Olympic contender, presented a series of ice skating clinics for beginning, intermediate and advanced skaters.
"I was here last year, and I wanted to show support," said Ward, who at the age of 21 has been skating for 14 years.
"It was fun, and they are great kids," he added.
On Sunday, the ice carnival continued with dog sled demonstrations by Bob and Linda Crowley of Cortland and mule-drawn sleigh rides provided by Dave and Linda Denman of Denman Farm in Pine Bush.
During the afternoon, scores of kids (and more than a few adults) snuggled up to the Crowleys team of Siberian Huskies, including five-year-old Malcolm Perry and his dad Malcolm Perry III of Grahamsville and little ice skating contest 1st place medal winner McKinley Bernitt, a charming four-year-old from North Branch who fell in love with a couple of dogs named Thor and Silver.
The Siberian Husky was developed by the Chukchi natives of Siberia. At the turn of the century, the breed was brought to the United States and in 1909, Fox Maule Ramsey traveled to Alaska with 60 huskies and entered three teams of sled dogs in the All Alaska Sweepstakes.
The Denmans showed up at the annual ice carnival with a pair of Belgium mules to provide some mulepower to pull a sleigh around a snow-covered field.
"We bought them out in the Amish country, and they have gotten to the point of being socialized where we can bring them out and work them in public," said Linda Denman.
"At first, they aren't used to being around people and a lot of noise," she added. "At home, they are harnessed, hooked and do their work. . . . We have to introduce them to people, places and sounds they've never heard before."
As the afternoon ticked away toward sunset over the ice rink, Sam, a 20-year-old Belgium mule, and his nine-year-old cousin Luke seemed to take pulling hundreds of folks across the snow-covered field in stride.
In real life, the mules work the hay fields, raking and tedding hay or baling and spreading fertilizer come spring.
In the wake of the Mountain Tones performing the National Anthem, event emcee Barry Foster, president of the Livingston Manor Rotary Club, announced the arrival of the 2005 Ice Carnival King and Queen and their royal court as the 11th graders got ready for their traditional circuit of the Walter Seeley Memorial Ice Skating Rink, pulled around on a sleigh by a host of local youngsters.
Anthony Barotti was this year's King, while Jessica Johnson was the 2005 Queen of the Ice Carnival.
The Royal Court for the 46th Annual Ice Carnival included Jamie Pawlak, Stephanie Colton and Katie Perry.
During the day, free hot dogs and hot chocolate were served by members of the local Rotary.
As the afternoon drew to a close, Ward took to the ice once again with a cadre of "Skaters of the Day": Melanie Reisner (junior girls), Brad Hemmer (junior boys), Danielle Fredenburg (senior girls) and Brian Casey (senior boys).
"I thought it went great the weather was perfect and we had a nice crowd," said Siegel. "It was a great day for everybody and a way to carry on the tradition."
Race Results 46th Annual
Livingston Manor Ice Carnival
Race #1 (adults 19 and over, 6 laps): David Pollack (1st), Ken Wiley (2nd) and Ed LaFontaine (3rd).
Race #2 (boys and girls five and younger, 1 lap): McKinley Bernitt (1st) and Nicole LaFrancois (2nd).
Race #3 (boys and girls 6-7 years old, 2 laps): Matt Janik (1st), James Johnson (2nd) and Ali Hemmer (3rd).
Race #4 (girls 8-9 years old, 2 laps): Melaine Reisner (1st), Amy Calo (2nd) and Amy Stuhmiller (3rd).
Race #5 (boys 8-9 years old, 2 laps): Brad Hemmer (1st), Don Princiotto (2nd) and Brandon Williams (3rd).
Race #6 (girls 10-12 years old, 3 laps): Danielle Fredenburg (1st), Mollie Stahl (2nd) and Angela Zayas (3rd).
Race #7 (boys 10-12 years old, 3 laps): Troy Correa (1st), Brian Ortiz (2nd) and Victor Papa (3rd).
Race #8 (girls and boys 16-18 years old, 4 laps): Brian Casey (1st), Richard Gately (2nd) and Anthony Martinez (3rd).