Outdoor ice skating to Christmas tunes is once again possible in downtown Kennewick.
The Historic Downtown Kennewick Partnership is opening a temporary ice rink Nov. 29, just in time for Small Business Saturday.
Don’t expect actual ice. The synthetic faux ice used for the rink at Kennewick Avenue and Benton Street has more resistance than real ice, which makes movement a bit slower and can be easier for beginners to stay upright, said Tim Dalton, executive director of the Historic Downtown Kennewick Partnership.
“It’s an experience,” Dalton said. “Come out try it, and then go to the (Toyota) Arena.”
The Centennial Ice Skating Rink will be open from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., from 3 to 5 p.m. and from 6 to 8 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays until Dec. 28. Cost is $2 for those who bring their own skates or $4 including skate rental.
The 3 to 5 p.m. skating time tends to be the most popular, but Dalton thinks 6 to 8 p.m. is the coolest because they set up a light tower to keep the rink lit.
The rink is 32 feet by 64 feet and comfortably fits about 35 to 40 people at a time. The partnership set up the rink in a parking lot at Flag Plaza last weekend.
Last year was the first time the rink was open during the holiday season. Dalton said it was popular, and he received calls into February asking about open hours. About 125 to 150 people skated each day, each averaging about a half-hour to 45 minutes.
Downtown Kennewick businesses will celebrate the rink and hold the Merry Christmas Village event Dec. 6. In addition to the skating times, Santa and Mrs. Claus will be available to meet with children for a Christmas wish discussion and pictures across from the skating rink at 127 W. Kennewick Ave.
There also will be hayrides, an hourly reading of the Polar Express, face painting and games. Maps of the Polar Express Train will be available so families can visit downtown businesses for giveaways and fun crafts, including wreath making.
Free gift wrapping will be available for gifts bought at any downtown business. Kennewick Irrigation District employees will be wrapping from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Dec. 6 at 127 W. Kennewick Ave.
The downtown partnership also will collect donations for the Tri-Cities Food Banks, Toys for Tots and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Benton and Franklin Counties Music & Art Center during the event.
Volunteers are needed for the skating rink and the Merry Christmas Village. To volunteer or for more information, call Dalton at 509-582-7221.