Gracie, Alys, Colton and Andrew

Gracie, Alys, Colton and Andrew make thier way across the skating surface at the East Marion Park. Saturday was the first day of skating. The skating rink will be opened through Jan. 4 for hours of operation log onto for hous of operation. Admission and skate rental are free of charge.

FAIRMONT — Children slipped their feet into ice skates and glided on a smooth surface at East Marion Park Saturday.

It was the debut of the ice skating rink at the park.

The skating rink, which is a synthetic ice surface with a silicone spray on top, moved to its new location this year beside the wave pool after having been set up at Palatine Park in previous years.

“Originally, we had it up here at Pavilion 1 the first year, and then we moved it down to Palatine for several years, and this year we moved it back up here to the wave pool,” Tony Michalski, MCPARC director, said.

He said the move allows people to take advantage of improvements made at the wave pool two years ago, such as the concession stand and a deck.

Michalski said everything is free, except for the concessions. The entry and skate rentals are free.

Alys and Andrew Freeman of White Hall brought their children, Gracie, 7, and Colton, 1, to the ice skating rink Saturday afternoon.

“It’s a lot of fun,” Alys said. She liked that it was free.

“I like it,” Gracie said.

John Provins, event coordinator with MCPARC, liked the new location for the ice skating rink, noting the concession stand and ample parking is available.

He also noted that the skating rink employs people at the concession stand, where a variety of items, including coffee and hot chocolate, are on the menu.

Misty Skarzinski, the pool manager, said she was excited about the ice skating rink being available beside the wave pool.

“We love Christmas and we love helping the public,” she said. “It’s a fun thing to do. It’s free, it’s fun, come out and enjoy it. It’s a good family bonding afternoon/evening.”

She said four employees are working the concession stand.

Caleb Haney, 19, said he enjoyed working there.

He said the biggest difference between summer and winter work at the concession stand, of course, is the temperature.

Another employee, Maresa Hrapchak, 17, didn’t mind it, however.

“I like the cold,” she said.

Eric Hrin can be reached at 304-367-2549, or

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