Danville invites you to …  Skate on Main 

Published 9:41 am Thursday, October 26, 2017

There’s going to be another first for the “City of Firsts” when Danville slides in a temporary ice skating rink downtown just in time for the holidays. The rink will be located on the Weisiger Park plaza next to the Boyle County Courthouse.

When the rink opens for skaters on Saturday, Nov. 25, “It’s going to be a huge day in downtown,” said Nick Wade, director of The Heart of Danville. “That’s what we’re hoping for.”

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The Heart of Danville hopes the rink will attract more people to the downtown area.

“We think it will be a great holiday activity for friends and families when they’re hanging out,” Wade said.

Before or after skating, people can stay downtown to shop and eat, Wade said. And ice skating will be fun for a date night and activity for families and children, he added.

“And it will have a huge impact for the downtown businesses, as an added bonus,” he said.

“It’s a project that’s very near and dear to my heart. I’ve been working on it since May and I’m glad to finally be able to make the announcement,” Wade said.

The ice skating rink isn’t made with real ice. It’s a plastic base with a special synthetic formula covering that makes the surface slick like ice, Wade said.

“Technology is crazy,” he said, laughing. 

Wade said the North Carolina company the Heart is renting the rink from will install it on Nov. 20.

He said the company will lay down a hard plastic base to protect Weisiger Park’s concrete, then pieces of plastic will snap together — kind of like hardwood flooring — to make the skating surface, which will be white like ice.

There will be fencing around the perimeter for skaters’ protection and for them to hold on to. At the end of each day, a solution is spread over the surface which reseals the plastic and makes it slick. It’s called “glide technology,” Wade said.

The synthetic “ice” is supposed to be easier for people to skate on, Wade said. For people who think they can’t skate, including retirees and young children, this is supposed to be an excellent surface for them to learn on, he said.

The rink will be 40-by-28 feet and will accommodate 35 to 40 skaters at a time.

“It’s a fairly small ice rink, but for our community, it will be the perfect size,” Wade said.

After noticing cities such as Lexington, Cincinnati and Asheville had ice skating rinks, Wade said he thought, “I’ve got to get a way to bring it to a small community.”

The cost to skate will be $10 per person, which includes an ice skate rental and 60 minutes of skating time. There will be benches added for people to use when changing shoes. And for those who want to just watch the skaters, Wade suggests they bring their own chair, just to make sure they have a place sit.

“It is a hefty investment, but we’re really excited to bring it to the community. We think it will be a great holiday activity,” he said.

There will be holiday music to skate to the entire time, Wade said.

The cost to bring the rink to town is $30,000, which is a good substitute for communities that can’t afford a $100,000-plus investment in a real ice skating rink, Wade said. The cost covers the rink rental for one month, set up and take down, fees, additional insurance and staffing.

One of the reasons the board was so excited about the skating rink is because, “In September we lost the BBQ festival, which moved out of downtown. So for us it was a loss,” Wade said.

“We worked the beer (at the festival) as one of our biggest fundraisers for the year. We anticipate the ice rink will kind of fill that void,” Wade said.

The Heart of Danville “hopes to make money and bring people downtown, which is the core of what we are trying to do,” he said.

In addition to being open to the public, Wade said the Heart will be offering special nights for school groups, churches and other organizations, when $1 for every ticket sold will be given back to the organization on their particular night.

“We are a charitable organization. So while we want to make money, we also want to help the organizations in our community,” Wade said.

The first such special night will be opening night, which will also be the annual Danville/Boyle County Pints for Pups fundraiser. Wade said for everyone who skates and mentions the humane society, the organization will receive 10 percent of the ticket sales.

The rink will be open Saturday, Nov. 25 through Saturday, Dec. 23. While schools are in session, the hours will be 4-9 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 4-10 p.m. Friday; when schools are closed for the holidays, times will be extended to 10 a.m.-10 p.m. on weekdays and Saturdays; and 1-8 p.m. Sundays.

Opening night, Nov. 25, will feature all of Danville’s “big holiday festivities,” Wade said — Shop Small Saturday, the opening of the skating rink, the tree-lighting ceremony at 6 p.m. and once again, after a 3-year absence, a parade will march down Main Street at 7 p.m., all on the same day.

Parade returns

Wade said the Heart of Danville is excited to bring back the Christmas parade this year. The theme is “Danville’s Christmas Treasure.”

“It is one of the oldest free public events — it’s the 37th year for the parade,” Wade said.

The Salvation Army Band will be in the parade, however, Wade said he’s not sure if the school bands can participate since it will be the Thanksgiving weekend. Also, they are still a “little low on parade participants,” and they are hoping for more entries.

There is no entry fee to march in the Christmas parade. Registration forms can be picked up at the Heart of Danville, Danville City Hall or the Danville-Boyle County Visitors Center (Grayson’s Tavern in Constitution Square Park). They can also be found online at www.downtowndanville.com. The entry deadline is Friday, Nov. 10.

In the 1990s and ’80s, the floats were tractors pulling huge flatbed trailers with large displays made with chicken wire and tissue paper.

“That’s not necessarily what a float is now,” Wade said. “A float can be the back of a pickup truck with filing cabinets with paper sticking out and a desk and the float would be ‘Santa getting ready for Christmas.'”

People are really busy this time of year, Wade said, so being creative with smaller entries is encouraged.

“We welcome people’s ingenuity and creativity” as they think about their parade entries and what makes Christmas special for them, he said.


Skate on Main

Nov. 25-Dec. 23

While schools are in session, 4-9 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 4-10 p.m. Friday 

Saturdays, 10 a.m-10 p.m.

Sundays 1-8 p.m.

When schools are closed, 10 a.m.- 10 p.m. Monday-Friday

Private parties are welcome

Advertising space is available on the fencing surrounding the rink.

Staffing positions at the rink are available

Contact the Heart of Danville at (859) 236-2361 ex: 141; or director@downtowndanville.com