Thursday, November 15, 2018

Olympia Ice Rink Opens

Above: Skaters of all ages and abilities tried out the new seasonal ice rink in downtown Olympia Thursday night. The rink opens to the public on Friday, November 16.

Oly on Ice Opens November 16

By Janine Gates
Little Hollywood

If you fall down at Olympia’s new seasonal ice rink, Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off,” might be a great song to remember. 

The temporary ice rink at 529 4th Avenue West, called Oly on Ice, opens to the public on Friday, November 16, from 3:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Weekend hours are 10:00 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturdays and 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Sundays.

The rink was open Thursday night for show and tell to media, city staff, and the rinks financial sponsors and their families. Plenty of upbeat tunes and encouragement kept skaters of all ages and abilities moving and laughing.

It will be open seven days a week from November 16 – January 6 except Thanksgiving with special operating hours during school winter breaks and on holidays.

For a full list of admission prices, hours, and special events, go to or call City of Olympia, Parks, Arts & Recreation at (360) 753-8380.

Oly on Ice parking is available at the two lots immediately east and west of the ice rink. Do not park at Bayview Thriftway or other private lots adjacent to the rink.

Temporary restrooms are available on site during the run of the ice rink.

The rink is only 100 feet long and 40 feet wide, which might frustrate some, but even Dorothy Hamill, Michelle Kwan, Johnny Weir and Nathan Chen had to start somewhere.

Perhaps the best advice of the night came from Lia Prandi, 17, just one of several assistants on hand to help people get up off the ice.

“When you fall, tuck your hands in as soon as possible so they don’t get run over by other skaters,” she said. Prandi said she learned to skate at Sprinker Recreation Center in Tacoma.

Olympia city manager Steve Hall grew up in the Pacific Northwest and never learned how to skate. He strapped on skates for the first time and hugged the edge of the rink until he was comfortable letting go.

Stephanie Johnson, Olympia Parks, Arts & Recreation arts and events program manager, demonstrated that she can skate backwards. Originally from Greeley, Colorado, Johnson said she learned to skate on a lake near her house that used to freeze.

Paul Simmons, Olympia Parks, Arts & Recreation director, whipped around the rink. He said he grew up in Federal Way and has only ice skated about three times but has a lot of experience rollerblading.

“So many people have done so much to pull this off….This is how we’ll bring the community together in the winter months doing something really positive,” he said about the rink.

Above: Jonathon Turlove, Olympia Parks, Arts & Recreation associate director, left, wriggles his size 14 feet into a pair of size 12 skates, the largest available. Kellie Purce Braseth, City of Olympia strategic communications director, puts on skates for the first time, while her husband Svin Braseth, right, is originally from Norway and has experience skating.

Landin Vargas, 11, of Olympia, had never been on skates before but skated for a full hour. He fell a few times but got right back up each time. His mom, Farra Hayes, skated on the ice with him. She works for Puget Sound Energy, one of the rink’s 40 financial sponsors.

As he took off his skates for the night, Vargas said he was definitely coming back. 

“I don’t get down on myself when I fall,” he said confidently.

Upcoming Special Events

Nutcracker on Ice, November 29, 4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. Get your picture taken with your favorite characters from Ballet Northwest’s Nutcracker cast.

Pride Night, December 6, 4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. Join Pizza Klatch for a night of fun – they’ll be selling wearable glow sticks to light up the ice! Rainbow attire encouraged all day.

Wizards on Ice, December 13, 4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. Witches, wizards, squibs and muggles: Join the South Sound Reading Foundation and the Downtown Ambassadors for magical trivia and prizes. Skate-safe costumes encouraged.

Ugly Sweater Night, December 20, 4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. Skate in your ugly sweater while the Capital High School Chamber Choir serenades skaters with holiday carols.

Fairy Tale Nights, December 27, 4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. Face painting, balloon animals, and photo opportunities with your favorite fairy tale characters from Glitter & Suede Events and Venue.

Super Hero Night, January 3, 2019, 4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. Come in your favorite skate-safe costume and get a giveaway from Olympic Cards & Comics while supplies last.

For a previous article about the ice rink, go to “Temporary Olympia Ice Rink Coming Soon,” October 19, 2018, at

Above: The Oly on Ice rink tent in downtown Olympia is on the isthmus between Capitol Lake and Budd Inlet.