ENID, Okla. — Rainy weather Saturday didn’t keep locals from enjoying the new downtown ice skating rink, in the parking lot of Stride Bank Center, at 400 S. Independence.
The rink, which opened Friday, was brought to Enid by a partnership between Stride Bank Center and Main Street Enid, and will be available until Jan. 3.
Despite the unfavorable weather Saturday, Dalton Neil, 7, a student at Prairie View Elementary School, took a break from his sister’s ninth birthday party to give skating a try.
His mother, Candace Cox, said the rink is a welcome addition to Enid’s downtown for this holiday season.
“I think it’s great,” she said. “It’s great exercise for them and they love it. It’s something new for them, and it’s great that we have this for this year.”
Rodessa and Chris Jantz came out Saturday to enjoy one of their favorite winter activities, without having to drive to Wichita or Oklahoma City.
“It’s exciting to have it here,” Rodessa said.
Chris, originally from Canada, said he was “pretty excited” to have a patch of ice available in Enid.
He had just one recommendation for Enid’s foray into ice skating rinks: “build an indoor one — a big one.”
Kevin Boryczki, with Stride Bank Center, said the skating rink is a fun outdoor distraction in a time when COVID-19 has canceled indoor Christmas activities.
“We were trying to find outdoor activities, and with it being Christmas it’s hard to find a lot of activities this year,” Boryczki said. “We were glad to partner with Main Street Enid to bring this to downtown.”
While wet weather hampered turnout Saturday, Boryczki said more than 160 people turned out Friday night. But, even with that turnout, he said everyone was still able to observe COVID-19 safety precautions.
“Even with 160 people here, there was never really a crowd on the ice,” Boryczki said. “People were still able to spread out and social distance. We were really happy with how it all went.”
The rink will likely be a central gathering place during the annual Enid Lights Up the Plains celebration, 5-7:30 p.m. Friday, which culminates in a fireworks display, launched from the parking lot west of Stride Bank Center.
“It will be a really cool view for people on the ice during the fireworks,” Boryczki said.
Enid Lights Up the Plains also is scheduled to include live Christmas music by the Bill Collectors, a special performance by Enid Twirling Academy, City Cheer and DanceWorks, visits with Santa Claus, food trucks, horse-drawn wagon rides, the Tree of Lights, Christmas Lights Parade and the Holiday Market Stall photo stations.
Charlet Ringwald, asssisant director at Main Street Enid, said special steps are being taken this year to allow people to enjoy the downtown activities, and support local merchants, while taking responsible COVID precautions.
“We are expanding the parade route so people can park and watch the parade from their vehicles,” she said. “This is for people who don’t feel comfortable getting out, but still want to see the parade and fireworks. We just want to give more options for everyone to enjoy the holidays.”
Parking to view the fireworks will be available in the lots between Oklahoma and Park and the one south to Andrews Real Estate on Grand. Lots off Cherokee, adjacent to the Security National Bank drive-through and west of Stride Bank Center will be closed for the fireworks staging zone.
Without a city mask mandate, Rindwald said Main Street can’t mandate or regulate masks for the event. “All we can do is recommend and ask people to be thoughtful in keeping our downtown businesses safe and open,” she said.
“I hope people will wear masks, because no one wants another shutdown and our local businesses are hurting,” Ringwald said. “They need the community’s support.”
For more information on Enid Lights Up the Plains, visit http://www.mainstreetenid.org/enid-lights-up-the-plains.html.
Admission to the ice skating rink is $12 per person, which includes skates, with group rates at $10 each for 10 to 30 skaters and $8 each for groups of more than 31. Special pricing is available for groups of 100 or more skaters, and season passes of $60 per person are available. There also are discounts for a family of four or more at all Jiffy Trip locations.
Party packages are available with options that include food and drinks and indoor/outdoor party spaces. Those interested can contact Cory Meschede at cory.meschede@spectraXP.com or at (580) 616-7381.
Hours are 3-9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 3-11 p.m. Friday, noon to 11 p.m. on Saturday and noon to 9 p.m. on Sunday. Special hours will be noon to 9 p.m. Nov. 23-26, Dec. 21-23 and Dec. 26-30; noon to 11 p.m. Nov. 27, the date of Lights Up the Plains; noon to 5 p.m. Christmas Eve; and noon to 1 a.m. New Year’s Eve. The rink will be closed on Christmas Day.
News & Eagle Staff Writer Alexander Ewald contributed to this story.