Free skate rentals and hot chocolate planned for Saturday at the ice rink at Nickless pavilion

Michael Bacigalupo remembers a time when many Bay City-area schools had their own outdoor ice rinks. Flood a patch of low-lying grass in the winter, let it freeze over, and you’ve got yourself an outdoor ice rink.

That doesn’t happen much nowadays, he says, but a new development at Wenonah Park is reviving that seasonal tradition. The Nickless Family Community Pavilion in Wenonah Park now features an outdoor ice rink, one with infrastructure that allows for year-round ice skating, should organizers want it.

The ice rink debuted late November 2018. It features free ice skating and $5 skate rentals. It’s been an immediate success since its opening, Bacigalupo says.

Bacigalupo is Chief Operating Officer for the State Theatre of Bay City, the organization tasked with providing programming for not just the Nickless pavilion, but Wenonah Park, which also includes the World Friendship Shell.

"Having an ice rink in the center of town is a pretty big thing," Bacigalupo says. "Plus it’s not weather-dependent. You could skate year-round, if you wanted to.

"This helps bring activities downtown that you wouldn’t normally be able to do."

The State Theatre has been working with area businesses to help sponsor a monthly skating event at the rink. While ice skating remains free throughout the season, there is a charge for skate rentals and hot chocolate. The sponsored events provide free skate rentals and free hot chocolate to the community.

This Saturday, Jan. 26, McLaren Bay Region will be providing free skate rentals and free hot chocolate at the ice rink. The event runs from 1 to 4 p.m.

"We’re all about community partnerships and any chance that we can give back locally," says Kate O’Shea, Marketing Communications Specialist for McLaren.

"In the rink’s first season, it provides an easy way for the community to get outside and be active. It’s a good fit for us."

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