Families rolled, wobbled and sometimes stumbled their way into the holiday spirit at Friday’s opening of the Winter Wonderland skating rink at Lyman Park.
The 40-by-60-foot skating rink drew dozens of skaters on opening night as part of the Jingle All the Way collaboration between the city and the St. Helena Chamber of Commerce.
Roller rinks, which were popular in the 1940s and ‘50s, are “trending” again, said Amy Carabba-Salazar, the Chamber’s executive director.
“You’re seeing them pop up at Coachella and all these big events,” she said. “Burning Man had a pop-up roller rink by the same company that did ours. We wanted to be ahead of the trends, to have something that was new and innovative.”
The Chamber stepped up its marketing of the event compared with last year’s synthetic “glice” rink, said Carabba-Salazar. Word about the skating rink has spread as far as the Bay Area and Sacramento, she said.
“Downtown was really busy today, which was great,” she said Friday.
Unlike last year’s glice rink, the skating rink is covered, so it can stay open regardless of weather.
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The light display at Lyman Park and throughout downtown was also enhanced over last year. Most prominent is a 26-foot snowflake at the entrance to Lyman Park, made out of recycled material.
Mayor Geoff Ellsworth was among the first batch of skaters on Friday. He called it an improvement over the glice rink.
“We’ve got a lot of joy compressed into a small time and space,” he said. “This is fantastic.”
“I haven’t fallen yet, but I’ve been very strategic about the use of the rails,” he added.
The skating rink is open 4-8 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays and noon-8 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays through the end of December. Admission is $8 for kids 12 and younger and $12 for adults. Kids skate free the first hour every Thursday. Tickets include skates.
For an event calendar featuring themed nights, DJs, live music, and appearances by professional skaters, Santa and characters from “Frozen,” go to sthelenajingle.com.