The extreme cold weather has been both a blessing and a problem for the first-ever Hangtown Holiday Ice Rink, which will open one day later than anticipated on Sunday, Dec. 15, at the El Dorado County Fairgrounds.
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On Dec. 10, Steve Sabel, owner of STS Productions, the company providing the ice rink, said, “The heavens are smiling on the Hangtown Ice Rink. This cold, dry weather is wonderful for making ice.”
But the cold, icy weather caused delays in the arrival of some equipment needed to complete the project and the uncertainty of whether the ice would be ready for the originally scheduled opening day of Dec. 14, caused the sponsor, Placerville Drive Business Association, to push it back an extra day.
Volunteers from the community have been helping Sabel put the rink together at the west entrance of the fairgrounds. Mike Kobus, president of the Placerville Drive Business Association, was out on the rink Tuesday, pulling the plastic sheeting over the rock bed into place. “We are all contributing to keep the cost down and all of us are trying to get it done.”
“Of all the towns I’ve worked with throughout the state,” said Sabel, “this community has been the most impressive. Everyone is so involved and they all are contributing something to the project, whether it’s the trucks, the rock, printing the flyers, the chairs for those watching at the ice rink or the staffing. Everyone is pulling together to make this happen.”
The rink, surrounded by a clear plexiglass railing, starts with a bed of small rock, covered with thick plastic sheeting to keep the rock from puncturing the coils of tubing. A layer of sand lies atop the sheeting and the tubing, filled with glycol, is laid on top of the sand. The glycol, akin to anti-freeze, is chilled to 10-15 degrees below freezing by a huge chiller unit. Then a layer of water is poured upon the surface and frozen. Layer after layer of water, in thin sheets will be poured out and frozen until the surface is about six inches thick.
“That’s the time-consuming part — building up the floor,” said Sabel. “It takes about 72 hours and we will be working in 24-hour shifts every day until it’s ready.”
The Hangtown Holiday Ice Rink will be open daily, Dec. 15-Jan. 5, from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. An Opening Gala on Dec. 15 will feature musician Cynthia Renee.
Skating sessions will be 1 1/2 hours in length and cost $10 per person, with a $2 fee for skate rental. To add to the fun, a holiday village with food and merchandise vendors will set up around the rink and themed evenings such as Girl’s Night Out, Zombie Apocalypse Night and Rock & Roll Night have already been planned. There will even be a New Year’s Eve Ball Drop Night with the ball dropping at 9 p.m. along with the ball drop on the East Coast.
For more information about the Hangtown Holiday Ice Rink, visit the Website at hangtownholidayicerink.com.
Contact Wendy Schultz at 530 344-5069 or [email protected] Follow @wschultzMtDemo on Twitter.