The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

October 29, 2012

Enid Lights Up the Plains won't include skating rink

By James Neal, Staff Writer
Enid News & Eagle

ENID, Okla. — Plans are well under way for this year’s Enid Lights Up the Plains celebration, but attendees will have to wait another year for ice skating at the event.

Main Street Enid director Kelly Tompkins announced in September organizers were raising funds to rent a synthetic 30-by-60-foot ice skating rink to be placed on the Garfield County Court House lawn for two weeks, Nov. 23 to Dec. 7, in conjunction with Enid Lights Up the Plains.

However, Tompkins has announced Main Street Enid is foregoing the ice skating rink this year due to a late start in raising the $35,000 needed to bring the attraction to town.

The $35,000 covered rent of the rink and skates, installation of additional lighting and sound equipment, construction of a wood sub-floor for the rink and additional advertising.

“The skating rink was a bit too ambitious for this year,” Tompkins said. “I thought we might pull it through, but this late in the year, a lot of the large sponsors’ budgets already were tapped out. I know now how much sooner I need to get on the sponsors’ budgets for next year.”

Tompkins said she plans to pick up the fundraising in January or February to bring the ice skating rink to town for the 2013 Enid Lights Up the Plains.

Tompkins said the rink will serve as more than just an attraction for Enid Lights Up the Plains. It will serve as a draw for downtown merchants and a venue where local nonprofits and charities can raise funds.

Main Street Enid offered local nonprofits the opportunity to staff the rink and split the proceeds of ticket sales.

“We had several nonprofits interested in helping staff the rink each evening,” Tompkins said.

She’s counting on that same support, and the same opportunity to help nonprofits raise some holiday funds next year.

And, while this year’s Enid Lights Up the Plains will not feature a synthetic ice rink, Tompkins said the event still will be a fun community event.

“We are still going to make Enid Lights Up the Plains a great evening,” she said.

The event, scheduled for Nov. 23, will feature fireworks, horse-drawn wagon rides, live entertainment, food vendors, hot chocolate, a visit from Santa Claus and the traditional lighting of the downtown Christmas lights.

“We’ll carry on and make it as memorable as we can,” Tompkins said, “and it’s still going to be a great evening.”

For more information on Main Street Enid and community events, go to mainstreetenid.org.