Downtown Farmington's outdoor ice rink nears completion

The rink is up. Now it just has to be filled with ice.

Officials estimate that the Riley Park Ice Rink is about a week away from opening. The structure is built. Workers are currently pumping the cooling coils with glycol. Next comes the ice.

In what’s become an annual tradition in downtown Farmington, it’s the fifth year for the outdoor ice rink.

Riley Park Ice Rink remains free and open to the public, with hours running on Sundays through Thursdays from 8:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. and weekends from 8:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. While there are no skate rentals, a show of community has built up a collection of 20 to 30 pairs of ice skates that are available to the public on the honor system.

"It’s become a very popular destination, and especially on the weekends," says Melissa Andrade, Assistant to the City Manager.

"It’s so nice to drive downtown and see all of the holiday lights and people skating on the rink. It’s Hallmark movie-esque."

In addition to the open skates, which run through at least February but sometimes later, depending on the weather, there are several special events planned throughout the season.

On Saturday, Dec. 29, it’s Harry Potter and the Holiday Skate. Andrade says her nine-year-old daughter came up with the idea while brainstorming with her friends. There will be a Horcrux scavenger hunt, fire pits, music, and prizes — downtown restaurant MI.MOSA will be serving Butter Beer for the adults.

Also planned is Glow Skate, which includes a DJ, disco lights and music, on Jan. 19. And then on Groundhog Day, Feb. 2, it’s Karaoke Skate, a return of last year’s popular event.

"We’ve found Farmington to be a strong community where people like getting together to hang out with each other," Andrade says.

"The rink has been a charming addition to downtown."

Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here or send him a tweet @mikegalbraith.

Read more articles by MJ Galbraith.

MJ Galbraith is a writer and musician living in Detroit. Follow him on Twitter @mikegalbraith.
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