It’s hard to believe when the sun is high and full in the sky that we are devoting thoughts to winter. But, planning for one of South Sound’s favorite attractions began months ago, and the Olympia Parks, Arts & Recreation Department is pleased to announce that the Oly on Ice skating rink in downtown Olympia is returning this November for its third wintery wonderland!

Oly on Ice
Oly on Ice returns this November in downtown Olympia at Isthmus Park. Photo credit: Olympia Parks, Arts and Recreation

Seasonal recreation is important to health and well-being, and roof-covered activities are rare in our region. Oly on Ice, the pop-up ice skating rink, offers active, affordable, and family-friendly fun. Skating has a remarkable way of getting our body heat rising, even when temperatures are dropping.

“I love ice skating!” says Rowan, an 8-year-old, (and very eager) skater. “And I really like that it’s something to do in winter because sometimes I think winter can get a little boring.”

And others agree. Paul Simmons, Olympia Parks, Arts, & Recreation director reports that “Oly on Ice has become Olympia’s newest holiday tradition, and after a challenging year for everyone in 2020, we are so excited to bring this experience back to downtown Olympia and our surrounding communities.”

Dr. Ruder and Dr. Rowley, owners of Small to Tall Pediatric Dentistry have been a Premier Sponsor of the rink for the past two seasons. “As small business owners, we look for ways to support the community and the place we choose to live, work and play in,” says Rowley. “Oly on Ice is such a unique opportunity for parents and kids to interact together during a time of year that is frequently cold and rainy.” He reports that his own daughters have truly enjoyed skating at Oly on Ice with friends and family. “We’re pleased to be able to be a part in bringing it back to Thurston County this winter.”

The city says they still have sponsorship opportunities available for organizations and businesses who want to be a part of the magic that happens down at Isthmus Park. So far, this season’s sponsors include Small to Tall, Browsers Bookshop, Heritage Bank, Commencement Bank, Olympia Pediatrics, Olympic Rental & Landlord Services, Port of Olympia, SCJ Alliance, South Puget Sound Community College, Timberland Bank, Twinstar Credit Union, Views on 5th, Graphic Communications, 94.5 ROXY, iFiberone/KMAS, KAYO/KGY, KMNT/KELA, KXXO/MIXX 96 and ThurstonTalk.com.

Oly on Ice
This group of skaters takes a break from skating to pose for the camera. Their smiles are infectious! Photo credit: Olympia Parks, Arts and Recreation

Sponsors who partner in the rink’s success prove that it is a community-wide investment in bringing the rink to Olympia, year after year. Partners also receive a host of benefits like unique exposure of their business or service to skaters and rink visitors, rink passes to hand out to their friends and supporters, and more. So much more.

As we begin to emerge from some really dark times this past year and a half, the economic impact on our local businesses still leaves its shadowy imprint. In bringing the rink to town, the economic vitality of the area gets a boost, so those that can invest in a rink partnership are helping to boost the outcomes for everyone.

Mike Reid, the City’s Economic Development Director shares, “Oly on Ice may seem like just an ice-skating rink to the casual observer, but for Olympia, it’s an important opportunity. It brings friends and families downtown to have fun and create new memories. I will unabashedly say I hope that some of that fun includes dining out at many of our great restaurants or doing some holiday shopping at our incredible locally owned and operated small businesses.”

Sponsorships also help offset admission discounts and complimentary passes for low-income community members. During the 2019-20 season, 550 passes were distributed across Thurston County via partner organizations including Family Support Center, Community Action Council, Safeplace, Community Youth Services, The Bridge Music Project, GRuB, Chehalis Tribe, Pizza Klatch, Cielo, Together!, and YWCA.

Oly on Ice
Sponsor banners hang from the top of the temporary tent that encompasses the pop-up ice rink. A modern marvel! Photo credit: Olympia Parks, Arts and Recreation

1,868 foster, military and first-responder families enjoyed discounted admission last season, and 239 local students whizzed around the rink during discounted field trips.

When the rink was last in operation feels like another time. It was the winter of 2019 B.C. (Before COVID), and things were different then. Although skating around the rink does lend itself to an ethereal, magical feeling, there’s nothing magical about following all current COVID protocols, which the City takes very seriously and follows all guidelines laid out by the Washington State Department of Health.

The rink’s vendor, Ice Rink Events has been operating rinks across the United States throughout the pandemic. They’ve doggedly been able to adapt to and meet the needs of each community’s guidelines.

Dr. Ruder captures the importance of the rink to our community well. He feels that for many kids, ice skating is seen as a magical experience:

“From gliding on the ice like a dancing character from ‘Frozen’ or slicing across the ice like a promising Kraken hockey player – what I really enjoy seeing is the progression that occurs on the ice; when timid novice ice skaters gently guide themselves around the rink (myself included) and eventually find the confidence to distance themselves from the board and feel the freedom of skating on ice. It mirrors so many life experiences that we all have as kids where we venture out to try something new and a little bit scary, but soon get the hang of it and learn to really enjoy it.”

Oly on Ice
Oly on Ice is a great place for teens to hang out and have some wholesome and active fun! Photo credit: Olympia Parks, Arts and Recreation

When the time comes, we too will be able to safely recreate this winter. Bringing the community together in a fun, safe, healthful and affordable way is something that the Olympia Parks, Arts & Recreation Department excels at by providing opportunities our entire community can enjoy.

So go on, and get ready to do a little twirl.

For more information on sponsorships or to see how your business/organization might partner with the upcoming 2021-2022 season of Oly on Ice, contact Anna Uyeda at auyeda@ci.olympia.wa.us.

Oly on Ice
Isthmus Park
529 4th Ave. W, Olympia

Sponsored

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