Holidays on Ice at Central Park

Story and photos by Diane Andrews

Outdoor ice skating in Central Park began on Nov. 20, just before Thanksgiving, and will continue into the new year through the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday on Jan.15, 2018. It is the third year for what has become a young holiday tradition in the historic Mission City, founded in 1852.

“We’re excited to be back for a third season and are looking forward to providing a family fun, safe environment for all to enjoy,” said Jeff Glass, general manager of Special Ice, the company hired by the City to provide the facility and manage Santa Clara Ice.

The partially covered, 50-foot by 90-foot ice rink is located on what otherwise is the basketball court just outside the Community Center, 969 Kiely Blvd. Visit www.santaclaraonice.com or call (408) 663-5278 for information about hours, fees, Tuesday family nights, booking private events and to sign up for skating lessons for children and adults. The rink is open on holidays.

To check information updated daily and post skating photos, go to the Santa Clara Ice at Central Park Facebook page.

Special Ice runs 13 rinks around the state, and Glass points out that Santa Clara Ice is one of the few that has music and colored lights at night. Also unique is the covered space set aside for private parties.

“The City Council feels like [the skating rink] brings the community together,” said Kimberly Castro, Recreation Manager with the Parks and Recreation Department. “It’s nice to have something close to home.”

Santa Clara Ice is subsidized by the City. In September, the City Council approved funding of up to $103,000. Eighty percent of net revenues, after expenses, are to be retained by Special Ice, and the City will receive 20 percent.

New this year is Central Park Nights at the ice rink. There will be free Friday night entertainment for six consecutive Fridays, Dec. 8 through Jan.12, 2018, beginning at 6 p.m. and lasting 30 to 45 minutes.

“It’s a way to showcase special local talent and add to the ice skating experience,” said Castro.

 

Central Park Nights Entertainment: Dec. 8, Wilcox High School Dance Team; Dec. 15, Vision Dance Center; Dec. 22, Santa Clara Parks & Recreation Dancers; Dec. 29, Leomele Hawaiian Dance & Music; Jan. 5, Happy Bright Kids Puppet Show; and Jan. 12, Say 80s High School Reunion Night with magician Spencer Grey.

The Annual Holiday Tree Lighting—a free event—is Dec. 1 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. in Central Park. There will be three, one-hour open skating sessions for $5 per skater. The sessions start at 4:30 p.m., 6 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.. The Christmas tree is next to the ice skating rink, and the tree lighting and fireworks begin about 6:50 p.m.

All the fun—from live music and entertainment to Santa Claus and the fireworks—will be broadcast live this year on the City of Santa Clara Facebook page and YouTube.