Rink whisks skaters into Christmas

Kaiti Sullivan/The Herald
Jesse Bolt of Huntingburg, right, reaches over the railing to help his daughter, Grace, 3, skate during the ice skating event at Market Street Park in Huntingburg on Saturday.

By ALLEN LAMAN
alaman@dcherald.com

HUNTINGBURG — Ice skating outside on a day when temperatures rose into the low 50s?

It might not have been a winter wonderland in Huntingburg on Saturday, but it was definitely beginning to feel a lot like Christmas.

Backed by a festive soundtrack, people of all ages took to a miniature rink in Market Street Park throughout the day, gliding and skimming across a carefully constructed horseshoe of faux frozen water.

See a gallery of photos here

For some, the experience marked their first time coasting on a pair of blades. Veteran skaters also joined in on the fun. One thing that many of them had in common: They were glad to have the chance to slide, twirl and glissade at a rink close to home.

“We don’t get all the things that we see in the holiday movies here in our area,” said Andrea Peters of Holland as she watched her 7-year-old son, Bryce, skate around the rail-lined enclosure. “So, it’s fun to get some of those touches.”

Abigail Flamion, 9, left, and Blondine Welp, 8, both of Huntingburg, spin in circles during the ice skating event organized by Destination Huntingburg at Market Street Park in Huntingburg on Saturday.

Sarah Flamion, executive director of Destination Huntingburg, explained that instead of ice, the rink’s surface consisted of “polymer, plastic-like” panels that were pieced together like a puzzle and washed with a slippery finish. Anytime Ice Skating of Greencastle brought it to life.

Destination Huntingburg — a volunteer group dedicated to preserving the city’s history while leading the way in civic, cultural, social and economic activities — began planning the event when the days were longer and the holiday season felt far away. It was originally slated to take place on Small Business Saturday at the end of November but severe storms prompted a change in plans.

With last-minute Christmas shopping in full effect at downtown Huntingburg businesses over the weekend, the organization hoped they could bring families to the unique happening as well as into area storefronts.

“I don’t think anywhere in the county has had anything like this,” Flamion said, “which is really exciting, that we were able to bring it. And you hope that it becomes a staple for Christmastime.”

Bryce, who also enjoys roller skating, had been looking forward to the event for some time. He liked that it was a fun way to exercise. Fellow pint-sized skater Jedidiah Woodward of Monroe City loved bolting around the rink, and his sister, Ayleia, spun her body on skates for the first time.

Garrett Flamion, 6, left, Rhys Rauscher, 5, and his brother, Liam Rauscher, 7, all of Huntingburg, take a break from skating during the ice skating event at Market Street Park in Huntingburg on Saturday.

Cohen Kippenbrock of Kyana has played travel hockey in Owensboro for about five years. He noticed the “ice” in Huntingburg was a little different than the frozen water he’s used to skating on, noting, you “have to push yourself more and it’s hard to stop.”

Regardless, he had fun reaching fast speeds. And he also finally got to do something he’d always wanted to.

“I finally got to skate close to home,” Cohen said.

Flamion said Destination Huntingburg would love to see the daylong event — which offered unlimited skating for $5 — become an annual tradition.

“First of all, I think it’s stupendous that they have this wonderful area in our city,” Sandi Trusty said of Market Street Park after looping around the rink with her granddaughter, Amelia. “And then to have a neat experience like this to do with grandchildren, especially around Christmastime, it just makes you feel ... real festive and ready for Christmas, and ready to celebrate.”

Molly Greene, 7, of Huntingburg, left, chases after her brother, Carter, 9, during the ice skating event at Market Street Park in Huntingburg on Saturday.



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