With not a cloud in sight and the temperature in the mid-70s, Glen Cove’s children and their families couldn’t have asked for better weather for the city’s fourth annual Kids Play Day last Saturday.
More than 500 people gathered in the Pryibil Beach parking lot for an afternoon of free activities, shows and community outreach, made possible in large part by the diligent work of Darcy Belyea, Glen Cove’s director of parks and recreation, and its senior clerk, Sue Tripp.
Belyea said that planning for Kids Play Day started in January, with a committee from every city department meeting once a month through April, then once a week through May and June. In the days after the event, she said that Kids Play Day was as successful as they had hoped.
“On a beautiful day, it’s a wonderful environment [and] a nice free event for our community to get together and do something different,” Belyea said. “That’s the main reason we do it — to bring our community together and offer them something fun at no cost.”
One of the biggest hits of the day was a visit from Jungle Bob, of Reptile World in Selden. His car was packed with critters to show off, including snakes, lizards, tortoises and even a tarantula. Children and adults alike had a great time interacting with the creatures, although the tarantula scared more than a few people.
Game On Long Island was also popular. Children were darting in and out of the arcade truck, playing games like “Mario Kart” and “Madden NFL.” Mr. Met even appeared toward the end of the day.
Representatives of various city departments also interacted with the children, showing them how fire trucks operate and helping them climb aboard the Harbor Patrol’s newest boat. “It’s a way for kids to experience the different parts of the city,” said Mayor Tim Tenke, who spent much of the afternoon greeting residents at the gates. “It’s a great day for families.”
Resident Jessica Kunzel said she felt the same way, and enjoyed her third Kids Play Day with her sons Joshua, 10, and Alexander, 6. She said her children always have a great time at the event, and that it helps her appreciate the city even more.
“I would never move from Glen Cove,” Kunzel said. “They do so much in this community . . . Every event is amazing here, and we love it.”
Joshua Kunzel took a break from scarfing a chocolate ice cream cone to agree with his mother, noting that he especially enjoyed decorating rocks and going in an ambulance. He said he was excited to be enjoying the day at full strength this year, after a back fracture limited his 2018 experience. “It’s a lot better to be back and doing everything that’s here without a problem,” he said.
Leigh and Jimmy LaPorta were enjoying Kids Play Day for the first time with their daughters, Stella, 2, and Olivia, 10 months. “One of the things we really like about Glen Cove,” Leigh said, “is that they’re very family-friendly, and they always have events and things to do for kids.”
“It’s always great to see the kids and to see them get involved with the community,” said Spiro Tsirkas, executive director of the Glen Cove Youth Bureau. “This is what we’re here for — this is what the Youth Bureau is about. Glen Cove is a great city, and there’s something for everyone to do.”