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Slice of Ice kicks off at Red Arrow Park

Holiday Hoopla brings together live music and ice skating in the heart of downtown by Milwaukee City Hall.

Holiday Hoopla will kick off the ice-skating season at Slice of Ice, the refrigerated rink in Red Arrow Park, Dec. 15, from 4-7 p.m. The downtown park is located at 920 N. Water Street.

Holiday Hoopla, presented through the partnership of Milwaukee County Parks and WaterStone Bank, will bring together photo opportunities, live music, giveaways, and ice skating if the weather allows the ice to be built. The event will go on with or without ice.

“We’re excited to celebrate the opening of the winter season with the help of our partner, WaterStone Bank,” said John Dargle, Jr., Director of the Milwaukee County Parks. “Their purchase of the new Penguin Pals for Slice of Ice offers a real benefit to young families with little ones, encouraging the whole family to get outside and get active.”

Penguin Pals are toddler-sized, plastic figures that provide support on the ice for young skaters, and, when there is no ice, offer a cute photo op. Penguin Pals, currently winging their way from Spain to Milwaukee, will be available for a $1 rental fee and $5 refundable deposit or photo ID.

In addition to the Penguin Pals, Santa and the Milwaukee Admirals mascot, Roscoe, will be available for photos at the Holiday Hoopla. Families are encouraged to bring their cameras.

Throughout the evening, holiday music will be performed by Vern and the Originals.

A variety of freebies will be available. The first 100 families at the event will receive goodie bags filled with little prizes and coupons from Milwaukee County Parks attractions, the Gift of Wings (the kite store at Veterans Park), and Palermo’s pizza. In addition, free samples of cold beverages and hot chocolate will be provided courtesy of Pepsi Co. and Starbucks, while supplies last.

If the rink is available, skating will be free to those who bring their own skates. Skate rentals will be available in the warming house for $7 per pair for ages 17 and under or $8 per pair for adults.

“The warm fall led us to a later event date,” said Guy Smith, Chief of Operations for the Milwaukee County Parks. “We need an extended period of cold weather, and our staff needs time for the many steps involved in building the rink. This is not something that can be done with the flip of a switch.”

The multi-step process begins with chillers lowering the temperature of the concrete, so that staff can begin building the ice. After a solid base is in place, the crew paints the surface. When the paint has dried, the crew spends the next several days misting and then flooding the rink to create the multiple layers of ice needed. When complete, the rink can withstand warmer temperatures.

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Chris Gallevo

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