By Leah Leach
Olympic Peninsula News Group
The Port Angeles Winter Ice Village will open for one month beginning the last day of winter.
The seasonal skating rink on Front Street in downtown Port Angeles, the only rink operated on the North Olympic Peninsula, was postponed last November when Clallam County was still in Phase 1 of the state’s reopening plan.
Now it will begin on Friday, March 19, the day before the official first day of spring.
“We have a safety plan we coordinated with the county health office, developed for opening in December, and now we are working with them to update for current conditions,” said Marc Abshire, executive director of the Port Angeles Chamber of Commerce, which has presented the skating rink since 2018.
“I think we’re better off now than back in November,” given vaccines being offered and the county’s move into Phase 2, he said.
Safe Skate 2021 will be the topic of the chamber’s 11 a.m. Wednesday virtual meeting. To access the Zoom meeting, go to https://tinyurl.com/safeskatemeeting.
It will be changed from the winter wonderland residents have visited in past years.
Since it isn’t in the holiday season, there will be no lights and no Santa. But there will be hot chocolate and, of course, the main attraction — skating.
The rink will be open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily through Sunday, April 18, staffed by volunteers.
The time frame aims to encompass spring break.
“This is mostly about making this available for kids,” Abshire said.
Pricing also has been changed. Instead of being tied to the age of skaters — children or adults — it will depend on the time of the individual session.
“It’s a single price for each skate session” for each person, Abshire said.
Tickets will range from $5 to $15, based on the popularity of skating sessions. For instance, Friday and Saturday nights tend to be crowded, so tickets will cost $15. Mornings are likely to cost $5. Other sessions will be $10.
Reservations will not be required but will guarantee one will get out on the ice.
The number of people who can be on the ice at one time will be limited.
In November, the plan was to keep each session to no more than 50 people, but the limit may be more now, Abshire said.
“As long as we have to limit people on the ice, we will use a reservation system,” he said.
That doesn’t mean people can’t just show up.
“If we have slots, you can take one,” he said, but it might not be possible to get in.
The overall cost of this spring’s Winter Ice Village, using a portable rink from Ice-America, will be an estimated $150,000.
For updates, see www.WinterIceVillage.com.