Denison on Ice opened Friday night to a mixed crowd of children and skaters of all ages despite concerns over weather.

This marks the fourth year the city has opened the ice skating rink in downtown. Denison Parks and Recreation Assistant Director Kimberly Bowen said the opening night turnout was better than expected.

“We have a phenomenal turnout for opening night considering we have got fog, and it is drizzling rain,” Bowen said. “It is the perfect condition to come out and begin the holiday spirit and start enjoying the ice while making some family memories.”

Family memories were what Matthew Freeman and his son Bodhi were all about. The family was up from Houston visiting family in Pottsboro when they decided to hit the ice Friday night.

Bodhi said it was a lot of fun and he was having a great time.

“You gotta have a special occasion to go skating in Texas,” Matthew Freeman said. “It is a blast to get out here. I am really glad they put it on. It is a lot of fun, but it is something you can tell is awkward until people get the hang of it. We do a lot of things bigger in Texas, but ice skating might not be one of them.”

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One group of friends came over from Sherman to hit the ice.

“We didn't have any plans,” skater Brisa Paulin said. “We saw it was open today so we decided to come see each other fall. It's our first time. We were happy to come out. It's been a lot of fun. I like it. It's pretty.”

Paulin said the best part was watching each other fall down.

Bowen said the city came up with the skating rink as something to enhance the downtown area during the holidays. She said the idea was to create something to provide a bit of a Hallmark feel, she said. Once the ice rink came up it was a big hit and has become a tradition.

“This is probably pretty typical for our opening night,” Bowen said. “With the weather, we were anticipating lower numbers this year because of the fog and rain. It didn't seem to deter them at all. These events are very important. If you look out there you see families coming together in a light atmosphere enjoying each other — putting their technology down. You don't see them on their phones except taking pictures. They are actually bonding with each other, creating those heartwarming moments that will last them a lifetime. It is great for multi-generational bonding. You will see children and seniors all having something in common.

Some of the new programs this year include the ice sisters from Disney's Frozen who will be present Saturday for photo opportunities as well as a meet and greet. The city has also adopted a snowman as its mascot for the season. That snowman will be on site nightly.

There will be an hour twice a week devoted to a slower paced skating during what Bowen called sensory-adaptive skating. During that time, the music will be silenced and accommodations will be made for those in wheelchairs or individuals who have other mobility issues. Adaptive skating will be from 12-1 p.m. on Sundays and 4-5 p.m. on Wednesdays.

The ice rink will be open daily Monday through Friday at 5-9 p.m. and 1-9 p.m. on Saturday and Sundays.

There will also be a date night skatinh event and a silver skating event for individuals 55 or older.

The city is also offering a tiered pricing for the first time this year. Adults are $10. Children 12 and under are $7 dollars. Seniors 55 and up and veterans are $5. The city is also offering frequent user cards. The price of ten visits will get the user 15 visits. The price for the adult card is $100 and for kids is $70 dollars. For more information check out

Richard A. Todd is a reporter with the Herald Democrat. He can be reached by sending email to He can also be reached on Facebook and Twitter @RichardAToddHD.