Skate with a date at Riley Park Ice Rink

By: Sherri Kolade | Farmington Press | Published January 23, 2017

 Nicole Nicholls and Alan Nicholls, both of Farmington, roast marshmallows for s’mores. Emcee-led ice skating and hot treats brought droves of people to Farmington’s Skate and Date event at the Riley Park Ice Rink in 2015.

Nicole Nicholls and Alan Nicholls, both of Farmington, roast marshmallows for s’mores. Emcee-led ice skating and hot treats brought droves of people to Farmington’s Skate and Date event at the Riley Park Ice Rink in 2015.

File photo by Donna Agusti

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FARMINGTON — Like to ice skate to music or strobe lights? People can have their pick of one or both experiences during two events at the Riley Park Ice Rink, 33113 Grand River Ave.

The rink’s first Glow Skate is scheduled for 7-9 p.m. Jan. 28, and a Skate and Date event will celebrate Valentine’s Day 2-4 p.m. Feb. 12.

Melissa Andrade, Downtown Development Authority president and chair of the Riley Park Ice Rink Committee, which leads ice rink fundraising efforts, hopes people lace up their skates for both events.

“This is a new event,” Andrade said of the Glow Skate. “We’re trying to increase the usage of the ice rink without skate rentals.”

Andrade said there are about 15 pairs of ice skates that the community donated for people who don’t have ice skates on hand.

She added that the city of Warren had a similar ice-skating program with strobe lights.

“It was fun, and it seemed really well-received, and we thought we could do it,” she said, adding that they hired a DJ for the events.

“We’re going to give away a few prizes, have a little more of a fire pit — should be really fun, and it is so pretty at night,” Andrade said.

The Skate and Date event is an annual event that Andrade said is open to all.

“We wanted to make Riley Park a year-round destination,” she said.

Farmington resident MJ Hrutkay, who is on the ice rink committee, said that she loves ice skating, and the rink is right around the corner from her house.

“It’s nice because it’s near the (Walter E. Sundquist) pavilion and the center of town, where people can meet up … for ice skating,” Hrutkay said, adding that the ice rink is a nice gathering place in the wintertime.

Hrutkay said ice rink committee members are heavily involved in making the rink active all year round.

“It is my favorite thing. I volunteer a lot for downtown Farmington, but this is my favorite one,” Hrutkay said.

She added that the Glow Skate event will feature glow sticks, glow jewelry, hot chocolate, s’mores and more.

To donate skates, people can drop off their old or used skates at a rack located inside the pavilion.

Weather permitting, ice rink hours are 8:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Sundays-Thursdays and 8:30 a.m.-11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.

The daily weather status of the ice rink is posted on the Riley Park Ice Rink Facebook page, said Annette Knowles, assistant to the city manager and Farmington Downtown Development Authority executive director.

When Andrade finds out from city maintenance crews if the rink can be skated on or not that day, she posts the information on the page. Typically, if the weather is 43 degrees or warmer the rink would close — unlike this past weekend, when the temperatures were in the 50s and people ice skated.

Knowles said it is not solely dependent on cold weather, because the refrigerated rink could be the right temperature, but it could be rainy and the ice rink could be too slick. Other inclement weather could also make the rink too soft to skate on, and it is a “day-by-day thing.”

The Skate and Date and Glow Skate events will be held even if weather precludes skating. The events would move to the heated pavilion in that case. 

The events are free to attend, but financial donations will be accepted for the upkeep of the rink. 

For more information, go to www.DowntownFarmington.org. 

To register for the Skate and Date event, call (248) 474-5941; space is limited.

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