For the second year in a row, the city of Denison has brought a little winter wonder to Main Street just in time for the holidays. Through Jan. 2, the city will be hosting Denison on Ice — an outdoor ice skating rink in the 500 block of Main Street.
By early afternoon Friday, a small crowd of about 25 skaters were in attendance for the first day ice skating. Despite a warm start to the winter holiday season, Main Street Director Donna Dow said the crowds seemed to be enjoying the return of ice skating to downtown.
“It is something you can’t do every day,” Dow said. “Even with the indoor rinks, you’d have to drive to a big city to do it.”
Dow said the rink’s opening went smoother in its second year and many of the difficulties seen last year were easily resolved. There were no issues providing electricity to the site, and the ice formed easily. Additionally, no city employees needed to work on Thanksgiving in preparation for the rink’s opening this year, she added.
Dow said the only difficulty Friday afternoon came from Mother Nature herself as temperatures rose into the mid-70s and left a light layer of water on the top of the ice. However, Dow said she was confident the temperatures would drop favorably as the sun went down.
The idea of bringing an outdoor ice rink to Denison first gained momentum in late 2015 when Dow recommended the city fund the event with the assistance of outside sponsorships. Before her time as Denison’s Main Street director, Dow helped organize a similar ice rink in downtown Durant, Oklahoma, over the winters of 2008 and 2009.
For its second year, Dow said organizers have made minor changes aimed at optimizing the event including changes to the layout. Organizers have moved skate rentals away from registration to its own location and have added more skates in popular sizes. Also, only one safety waiver is needed for the entire season, Dow said.
Among the early visitors to the ice rink was Dave Wiggins, who said he was making a new tradition to bring his grandchildren to the ice rink each year after Thanksgiving. As his grandchildren tried their best to stay on their feet, Wiggins easily skated around them with years of experience.
Wiggins said the rink reminded him of outdoor skating when he was younger and living in Illinois. While the skating up north was mostly on lakes, he said Denison’s outdoor rink was the next best thing.
“I’ve seen a few Teflon rinks down here, but that’s not very good,” he said.
Wiggins said he was impressed to see this kind of activity available to the public in a small rural town. Without the outdoor rink, he said he would have to go to the Metroplex, which wasn’t worth it.
The rink will be open on weekends through Jan. 2 from 1 p.m. to 10 p.m. and school holidays. One-hour sessions cost $9 and include skate rentals. For more information, visit http://www.DenisonLive.com.