FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – The Headwaters Park Outdoor Ice Skating Rink opened for its 18th season on Saturday.
The Downtown Improvement District is the sponsor for the season, which lasts through Sunday February 28, 2021.
“Thanks to the D.I.D., we are in a position to keep the ice rink operating this season. COVID-19 has presented many challenges and one of them was finding a sponsor for our season,” said Geoff Paddock, Executive Director of the Headwaters Park Alliance.
The 18th season kicks off the Saturday before Thanksgiving in what has become an annual tradition.
“Every year we have about 25,000 to 30,000 skaters and about as many spectators over our three and one half month season,” Paddock said. “Last year’s skaters totaled just over 35,000, which was a record, and there has been a cumulative total of over 400,000 since the rink opened in November 2003.”
However, with the coronavirus pandemic still in play, attendance will be limited to about 50% of what is normally allowed on the rink, to follow guidelines set by the Allen County Board of Health.
Social distancing will be monitored and face coverings will be required to those who enter the area and for those who skate on the rink.
The season sponsorship of the Downtown Improvement District will help pay for many of the expenses associated with operating the rink seven days a week for over three months, particularly with tighter restrictions in place due to the pandemic.
“We are pleased to be able to sponsor this season which does so much to bring families and friends together downtown in a safe environment,” said Michael Galbraith, Downtown Improvement District President. “This is really a tough year for downtown events and supporting a great tradition like the Headwaters Park Ice Rink makes 2020 a little bit brighter.”
The indoor concessions stand will again be operated by Mr. G’s at the Rink, offering soup, sandwiches, cold, and hot drinks. Hours of operation are: 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 12 NOON to 10 p.m. on Friday; 12 NOON to 10 p.m. on Saturday; and NOON to 8 p.m. on Sunday.
There will also be extended holiday hours. The rink is closed on Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. Hours are subject to change due to the pandemic situation. The rink will not be taking reservations this year.
Free parking is available in the Headwaters Park lot, with access from Clinton and Barr Streets. Season skating passes and single skating passes are available by calling Geoff Paddock at 425-5745. The direct line to the rink is 422-7625, beginning November 21.