Spring Fling 2012 – Play

You work hard. It’s now time to pack away the boots and heavy jackets, dust off your lightweight outerwear and get out there and Play Hard.

Autophiles
Not ready to commit to exercise? We know, Long Islanders love cars—just look at how many of us would rather be stuck in one on the LIE than sleep away our commute on the LIRR. It’s rumored that the age-old practice of “cruising” began on our fair isle. And we’ve even been known to claim the original Grease as our own, imagining it was shot in and about our high schools (though all filming was done in Cali and no specific references to Long Island are made).

But let us not digress—the point is cars. And if it’s cars you want, cars we got. Starting with Long Island Cars car show and swap meet. What’s a swap meet? Who cares? This is the place to check out custom and collectible cars ranging from vintage to downright freakified. Collectible automobiles will also be sold in the Car Corral at this April 1 event taking place at MacArthur Airport. Admission is free, starting at 8am, and the event will conclude with judging and trophy presentation at around 5pm. Holding out for something a little more muscular? Mustangs at the Beach 2012 is a return of the annual Mustang Club of America show that brings 500+ cars to Sands Point Preserve the weekend of May 19-20. Exhibitors bring their ‘Stangs in from around the country for this two day event that runs 9am-5pm.

Culture Vultures
There are two words that say Long Island like nothing else can: Nassau and Suffolk. The runners up in depicting our region’s sensibility are: Wine and art. Bring the latter pair together in a whole new way on April 27. Peconic Bay Winery (Cutchogue) is hosting Canvas and Cocktails, $50/person, a 2.5 hour class taught by artist Rita Rooney in which attendees will create 16×20 masterpieces while sipping the best of our region’s fruits.

If you’re more the rock star sort, the western side of our sandbar is probably going to be more your speed when the NY Guitar Show and Exposition takes hold at Curé of Ars Church (Merrick). April 28 & 29, New York’s largest guitar show will open to the public, $8/person, for almost the 20th year. Vintage, new and used guitars are on display (and for sale) from 10-6pm on both days.

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Do Good, Feel Good
There is no better way to enjoy the spring than to share it with others—especially charitably. On April 22, Winthrop University Hospital (based in Mineola) will host their 11th Annual Pediatric Swim-a-thon at Hofstra University Swim Center (Hempstead). While it’s still too cold to take a dip off our fair shores, you can enjoy a temperature controlled swim in a fair-like atmosphere to benefit the hospital’s Child Life Program for a registration of only $20/adult and $10/kids ages 4-18.

Jack’s Run for Autism Awareness takes place at North Hempstead Beach Park on May 12. Registrants ($21/advance, $25/door) sign in at 7am to participate in the 6th annual 5K run/walk to raise money for countering autism.

On May 20, the 3rd Annual Every Woman Matters Walk at Jones Beach State Park will commence with check-in at 8:45am. The 5K walk is a free event benefiting The Katz Institute for Women’s Health and Katz Women’s Hospitals of North Shore-LIJ Health System. Families and friends of walkers who attend can enjoy musical entertainment, refreshments and wellness activities.

Nature Lovers
Some things never change: When the weather warms, you want to go out to play. Whether you’re calling out sick to do it or making the most of a weekend, there’s no reason to spend a gorgeous afternoon cooped up indoors. Start now by stretching your legs along our beautiful landscapes to make your (re)acquaintance with fresh air. Beginning at the beginning, April 1 that is, the Montauk Point Lighthouse Concession Seal Hike is an exciting 2-3 hour hike through Montauk Point. Tickets are $5/adult, $3/kid, $Free/6 and under. Believe it or not, you must call to reserve your spot.

April 28 is not Earth Day, but the feeling runs deep on this last Saturday of the month. The North Shore Land Alliance Walk in the Woods at Massapequa Preserve starts at 10am and is a light trek led by botanist Andrew Geller. Farther north, Coe Hall Planting Fields Arboretum (Oyster Bay) is hosting an Arbor Day Family Festival 10am-5pm on each day of the weekend. For $20/car, families can enjoy activities, arts and crafts, live music and clean open spaces.

Rocks & Stars
For those who dig rocks and stars, April 21 is your day. What does this mean? It starts westward, when family-friendly Rock The River Spring Festival and Fundraiser hits Rolling River Day Camp (East Rockaway). Admission, music, dancing and browsing are free, but the crafts, vendor’s fair, rides and games are fundraisers for Rolling River’s Campmates Scholarship Program.

That evening, Custer Institute and Observatory (Southold) will host a Lyrid Meteor Shower Party starting at 7pm. The event is weather permitting, but if the skies cooperate, you’ll enjoy peak viewing of the Lyrid meteor shower of up to 20 meteors per hour. Suggested donation of $5/adult and $3/child. $FREE/member.

Sugar Babies
Admittedly, while dad may love the car shows, it might be the kind of thing he’s better left to doing with the guys. Families might be better served celebrating the sweeter side of spring. April 7th is about as sweet a day as you can get. It starts at 10am at The Long Island Aquarium & Exhibition Center (Riverhead) when the 8th Annual Penguin Egg Hunt & Brunch returns to offer families the Egg-Streme Adventure of searching for penguin eggs that leads to prizes like a free birthday party at the aquarium. Later that day, the Spring Festival at Sweetbriar Nature Center (Smithtown) is an afternoon of face painting, story time, egg hunts and an appearance by that famous bunny (not Bugs) for $7/person, starting at 4pm.

You’re Kidding!
If you’re going to do any socializing, especially with people you don’t know (at a charity fundraiser or in the stands with other little league parents), know how to tell a joke. It’s not just an ice breaker, it’ll come in handy when the conversation lags and people will remember you as a good-time Charlie. It doesn’t matter what your joke is, or if you only know one, have these tactics down cold for when it’s time to deliver.

1. Never, ever, ever start with, “Did you hear the one…” As soon as you do, you’re letting everyone know you’re telling a joke and setting yourself up for failure (especially if it’s not funny).
2. Never laugh as you’re telling it. A smile or a lighthearted face is ok to keep things light, but if you’re laughing, you can guarantee no one else will be. Not only are you hard to understand, but you’ve already stolen your own thunder.
3. Timing is everything. Choose your moment, don’t try to perform, don’t take too long and don’t speak too quickly.
4. Make it personal. If you can attribute the joke to yourself, someone you know or something you recently read in the paper, it’ll make it seem more authentic and thus, funny.
Bonus: Admit defeat. If you bomb, shrug it off with, “I guess you had to be there.” At least you’ll get marks for honesty.

Hit Something!
Work off the frustration of all that cabin fever that built up over winter and take to the batting cages. You can go it alone and enjoy some time with your anger or bring a friend or two to work out whatever latent aggression you have about that bad night after the Mets opening day (also bad) or the unreturned garden tool or whatever. It’s cheaper than 50 min at the shrink and better exercise. Bring a flask. Make it authentic, dip chew. Think: A-hole boss.