Seven-year-old Alana Emerton of Port Angeles shows grim determination to stay upright as she skates at the Port Angeles Winter Ice Village on Saturday. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)

Seven-year-old Alana Emerton of Port Angeles shows grim determination to stay upright as she skates at the Port Angeles Winter Ice Village on Saturday. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)

Inaugural season of Port Angeles ice skating rink closes in the black

PORT ANGELES — The Port Angeles Winter Ice Village will close for the season today, having exceeded organizers’ expectations for first-year attendance and community support.

The seasonal skating rink at 121 W. Front St. will be open from 11 a.m. until 9 p.m. today, after which time volunteers will begin a week-long tear-down of the village that opened Nov. 23.

While daily attendance figures were not available Friday, Port Angeles Regional Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Marc Abshire said the Ice Village sold more skating tickets than the projected 200 per day.

“I would say it exceeded our expectations,” Abshire said Friday.

“We’re pleased with the support from the community and the participation by skaters from all over the Olympic Peninsula and beyond.”

Abshire said he planned to provide final attendance figures and other statistics that will outline the performance of the Ice Village in a “State of the Chamber” presentation Wednesday at the Red Lion Hotel; information is available on the chamber website, http://www.portangeles.org/.

Abshire said the Ice Village broke even financially shortly after Christmas and that tickets sold in subsequent days would help bring the temporary rink back to downtown Port Angeles next winter.

“We are planning to bring it back next year,” Abshire said.

“We don’t know what it’s going to look like, but we’d like to make it bigger and better.”

Organizers said the $150,000 project was made possible by community donations and scores of volunteers.

The city of Port Angeles approved a $35,000 lodging tax grant as a down payment to Ice-America of Harbor City, Calif., which provided the 3,200-square-foot aluminum rink.

“We’re going to raise funds in other ways,” Abshire said of the second-year effort.

“We don’t want to rely on lodging tax funds to continue this operation.”

Lodging tax funds are ear- marked for projects and events that attract out-of-town visitors to local lodging establishments.

“We had a lot of folks from outside of our immediate area that came to skate,” Abshire said.

“That was a lot of fun to share the rink with out-of-towners as well.

“We had schools participating — both public and private school participation,” Abshire added.

“We had lots of groups, lots of birthday parties. The overall numbers were higher than we anticipated.”

The Port Angeles Winter Ice Village was open daily but closed during the Dec. 14 windstorm that knocked out power to all of Clallam County.

The ice stayed cold during the electrical outage because of a generator provided by Lakeside Industries.

The tent that covers the skating rink, which was donated by the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe, withstood the 65-mph gusts.

“We did have to close that day,” Abshire said.

”We just fell it was a little bit unsafe. It was our plan all along to close if the winds got really bad. It’s not much fun to skate when the winds are that bad anyway.”

Abshire said the Ice Village was successful in bringing more foot traffic to downtown shops and restaurants.

“We’re really looking forward to making this a tradition in Port Angeles,” he said.

For a live look at the Port Angeles Winter Ice Village, click on www.skatecam.org.

________

Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56450, or at [email protected].

Skaters make their way around the rink Saturday at the Port Angeles Winter Ice Village. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)

Skaters make their way around the rink Saturday at the Port Angeles Winter Ice Village. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)

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