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Players Flash Forehands at Festival

Nor Smitobol and Marilyn Katz love tennis and Westport. They made the perfect to smack forehands, crack serves and run down shots at Sunday's Tennis Festival at Longshore. Men, women and children of all ages and abilities came to play, learn, eat and win prizes.

"I've been coming to this for years,'' said Marilyn, who played in the mix doubles competition with Nor. "I enjoy the tennis. It's another chance to come out and play and see who else is here."

The day's theme was tennis enjoyment, but Katz and Smitobol couldn't hold back their competitive juices entirely. "It's just for fun, but we try to win,'' Nor said. "But between us, we have four arms and no knees,'' Marilyn said.

Instructors provided free lessons. There was also a water slide for children, food and raffles. Billy Hess of Joey's By The Sea provided the refreshments.

Players also whacked balls with demo racquets provided by Wilson. Austin Orwasher, who directs the pee-wee program in Westport, helps children learn tennis basics.

"The pee-wees are a great group,'' Orwasher said. "The best part is their enthusiasm. They want to learn the right way to do it and it's important to get started on the right track." Orwasher has been teaching children in Westport for eight years, and enjoys seeing them get better as they get older. "It's fun to see the excitement and have parents tell you how much fun they had,'' Austin said.

"This event has been great year after year for celebrating the Westport Parks and Recreation Tennis Program which is offered for all ages and levels along with Town and USTA Tournaments for Juniors and Adults,'' director Dave Kardas said. "It is also great to see new people come to this event where lots of times the free lessons encourage them to play more and also participate in the program more in the future."

The festival coincided with the 50th anniversary celebration at Longshore. The weekend's events also included the Family Classic Tennis Tournament on Saturday. The festival was postponed from Saturday to Sunday because of weather concerns.

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