FLORENCE, SC (WMBF) - Ice skating is back for another year at the Florence Civic Center, and the rink opens Saturday. There are more than 70 two-hour sessions to choose from.
Admission is $6 for kids and $8 for adults. Tickets are sold on a first-come-first-serve basis and people can bring their own skates, or rent skates at the Civic Center for $3. Concession food and drinks will also be sold. There are group specials you can schedule along with private skate sessions available.
This year's theme is a Winter Wonderland. Nick Hooker, Director of Marketing at the Florence Civic Center, said employees were nervous about how the community would respond last year, being the first year back for public skate after four years. But after seeing so much traffic, Hooker said it's well worth the return. The rink is also offering several more child-sized skate buddies this year, and also improving lines to get skaters out quicker.
"We did take a few years off before 2015, last year was our first year having ice skating back for the public and wow, tremendous support, tons of people came out. We actually sold out every session except for two, so this year we are doing more planning and we added quite a few more sessions."
The first project though is to get the dasher boards out and build the rink. Brandon McAllister the Production and Facilities Manager for the Florence Civic Center said he and his crews will work around the clock to build the ice rink until opening day. "So we'll get the floor down to probably 19 degrees to create an inch and a half thick sheet of ice and using 15,000 gallons of water," McAllister said.
Their homemade ice cart used to make the ice brings a ten-man job down to one, he explained. "We used to stretch out two hundred feet of an inch and a half water hose and it had a sprayer wand at the end and we walked back and forth back and forth all the way down the ice rink, where now with the ice cart, one man drives. The tank holds 300 gallons and you just ride around until the water runs out."
McAllsiter enjoys it because he said his crews don't get to make the rink often, and said it's well worth the work. "When the community supports what you are doing, it makes everything better, it makes it a lot easier."
An ice rink in Florence truly sets the city apart from others, Hooker said. "So we do get to pull quite a lot of people from the surrounding areas, even as far as Lumberton, Fayetteville places like that, they'll sneak down here for an ice skate or two."
The skating is for a good cause, as well. Proceeds from this year are going to the SNAC program which is Shelter and Nutrition for All Children, as well as Help for Kids in Florence. "So we're excited to help the community raise some funds for some nonprofit organizations, and have a good time doing it," said Hooker.
Click here for the full schedule of date and times of sessions.