The Norton family had the artificial ice all to themselves recently at Jack Kilby Square. Parents Ashley and Carson came early on a Thursday afternoon so their children, 7-year-old William and 4-year-old Brecken, wouldn’t have to master ice skating with a crowd.
William remembered coming to the skating rink two years ago but he didn’t have his technique under control yet. As his skates flew out from under him and he landed on the white surface, he laughed and flapped his arms and legs. “Look, I’m making a snow angel!” he said.
Brecken was experiencing the synthetic ice for the first time.
“Last year we were in Kansas City when they had an Olympic skater,” mom Ashley said. “She was so excited.”
Their daughter had been looking forward to strapping on a pair of ice skates ever since.
The beauty of the rink in Jack Kilby Square is that it doesn’t have to snow or even turn cold for families to enjoy old fashioned ice skating. Years ago, around 2001, a group of seventh graders attending the annual Great Bend Youth Academy helped to build support for bringing the ice skating rink to the courthouse square as a part of revitalizing downtown.
In 2016 the city’s artificial ice skating rink was not in use, due to the pending renovations to the square. But this year it is back through Dec. 30.
The rink uses normal ice skates and is almost as slippery as real ice. Ice Skates are available to check-out free of charge at designated times of the week: 4-6 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays, and 1-6 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. The rink is available for those with their own ice skates anytime.
During the hours that the ice skate rental booth is open, children may also visit Santa Claus at Santas Around the World, 1221 Main.