Valparaiso’s keystone winter destination is opening November 16, marking the official start to cozy-weather festivities in the city. The William E. Urschel Pavilion Ice Rink is prepped for another season of skating.
“[Central Park Plaza] is the heart of downtown Valpo,” said Dan McGuire, Director of Facilities for Valpo Parks. “It really adds to that magical feeling the city creates, especially during the holidays when there are skaters in the Pavilion.”
A clean ½ sheet of ice, the William E. Urschel Pavilion Ice Rink is a lot more manageable for inexperienced skaters (and experienced ones who want to make multiple swift rounds in the rink), McGuire said. The rink’s aesthetically pleasing architecture and the energy its colorful lights and music cast upon skaters make it a draw, too.
“We have a lot of wonderful restaurants and shops downtown, and the ice rink draws families and visitors to enjoy the winter months out here even more,” McGuire said.
Saturday’s season opener event, First Skate, will double as a fundraiser for the Valpo Parks Foundation. Attendees will have the edge of being the first on the ice this season, and all proceeds will benefit the Valpo Parks Foundation’s capital projects, such as ValPLAYso and the in-process ValPAWraiso Dog Park.
Sponsored by Anytime Fitness, First Skate takes place from 5:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. Tickets are $15 per person, and each attendee receives admission, skate rental, and complimentary treats. Skaters are welcome to bring their own skates if they have them. Children under the age of 10 must be accompanied by an adult, and children ages 4 and under are granted free admission. Purchase tickets here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/first-skate-fundraiser-2019-tickets-76784324983.
First Skate is only the first event lined up to take place at the Ice Rink. On November 30, Valpo Parks will host its traditional Winter Fest and Tree Lighting from 4:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m. Alongside experiencing Central Park Plaza’s holiday tree illuminate to life, attendees can indulge in caroling, photos with Santa, cookies and cocoa provided by sponsor 1st Source Bank, and several thrilling skating performances by Midwest Training & Ice Center entertainment.
Valpo Parks also hosts Rock N’ Skate Fridays from 7:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m. A live DJ is on-site to take skaters’ music requests, providing the perfect soundtrack to an evening montage of skating. Regular programming such as Learn to Skate and Youth Hockey offers young ones the opportunity to learn the fundamentals of skating and hockey. Session I of Learn to Skate is full, but registration is currently open for Sessions II and III. Valpo Parks also offers Open Hockey hours, drop-off skate sharpening services, field trip specials, and facility rental abilities for special events. For more information, click here.
McGuire said that, beyond the exciting events lined up at the rink this season, the Valpo Parks team is looking forward to the rooftop expansion at Stacks Bar & Grill. An enclosure with a row of windows overlooking the Ice Rink will provide families and friends a festive glimpse of the activity. The vantage point will create an opportunity for Stacks and Valpo Parks to form a relaxed partnership.
“The purpose of the Ice Rink was to drive more people downtown and to grow our local businesses during the winter months,” McGuire said. “The Ice Rink is accomplishing that, and Stacks is a testament to that growth. We can’t wait to see more businesses continue to follow suit.”
For more information about the William E. Urschel Pavilion Ice Rink and upcoming Valparaiso events this season, visit https://www.centralparkplazavalpo.com/.