By LEIGH C. MERRIFIELD
News & Journal Editor
While Palatine Park in Fairmont is typically active with fair weather events such as the Three Rivers Festival, summer concerts at the Amphitheater, etc., that doesn’t mean that it’s entirely dormant during the winter season.
If you like being outdoors and the cold weather
doesn’t bother you, then there is still time to bundle up, put on some skates and do a little ice skating! Over 200 people were taking to the ice this year in the first two days after it opened – despite the cold.
An outdoor ice skating rink is temporarily located in the parking lot behind the amphitheater. It has been in operation since the early part of December and is scheduled to continue through Saturday, January 7th. Perhaps the best part is – it’s FREE! Even if you don’t own your own ice skates, skates are available in a variety of sizes – ALSO FREE OF CHARGE!
“This is our 3rd year for the ice skating feature,” said John Provins, events coordinator for Marion County Parks & Recreation. “Our first year, a temporary skating rink was rented from a company in North Carolina, but because it was so popular, we put together a proposal and purchased our own. Plus we probably have 100 sets of skates in all sizes that we offer to folks who don’t have their own. We also have a professional skate sharpener on site who polishes and sharpens the skates each time they’re used and makes them ready for the next user.”
Provins said that ice skating is very popular and that there are many parks in Florida, for example, that have them operational all year round! He also noted that the first year they offered ice skating, the WVU hockey team paid them a visit and even offered assistance to those just learning how to skate.
Since development of Palatine Park was initiated, the county has continued to make improvements and develop the property further as well as to add special activities held there.
“There is a push in Marion County now to turn things around,” Provins continued. “It’s all about cleaning things up, giving people things to do and making things look better. It is a service to the people in the area. The Marion County Parks is actually one of the premier parks systems in West Virginia. We are fortunate that the citizens have given us a nice budget to work with.”
If you’re looking for an outdoor experience – perhaps a NEW experience – this free ice skating opportunity might be a good choice. Remember that you don’t have to be a professional familiar with sits & spins, jumps, lifts or triple salchows! Even the novice can enjoy the fresh outdoor air … plus it’s good exercise! Layer your clothing and perhaps pad your bottom in case you fall, and go try the ice.
Remaining open days at the rink are: Dec. 23rd, 28th, 29th & 30th from 5 to 9 p.m.; Jan. 5th & 6th from 5 to 9 p.m.; and Saturday, January 7th from 1 to 9 p.m. Provins added, however, that since it has been getting so much utilization, the closing date may be extended to later in January.
Events at Palatine Park are taking place nearly every weekend between June and September. This coming year, things will get underway with an Easter Egg Hunt in April … then there is the Three Rivers Festival slated for May 21 – 28 … followed by a D-Day celebration in June, a movie night and a special Father’s Day celebration. Of course there will be a big July 4th event and a Rock N Roll tribute returning in late July that will also encompass a fantastic laser light show! August will feature a water ski show, a luau, and a fire circus. And then there is also a Hip Hop Festival scheduled, lots of fundraising events, and the list continues. Be sure to check as 2017 gets underway and see what events are highlighted each month.