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Final touches being made for Tucson Holiday Ice opening day

Published: Nov. 18, 2021 at 12:49 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - The chillers are running and final touches made to the Tucson Holiday Ice rink, which opened Saturday, Nov. 20.

The city of Tucson, Rio Nuevo and the Tucson Convention Center worked together for the first time since 2019 after the event was canceled last year because of COVID-19.

This year, Greg Jackson, deputy director for the Tucson Parks and Recreation Department, said you can expect all the fun, but at a different location to allow for more space.

“The spot we used in 2019 was pretty tight, and we know with COVID we want to have a bigger area to spread out, so we are trying this new location on Church Avenue in front of the Tucson Convention Center,” Jackson said.

Another change this year is the number of skates provided and number of skaters allowed on the ice. More skates were purchased in child sizes all the way to size 15 to allow for increased sanitation measures and to make sure the skaters always have a fresh pair.

Work crews have been busy to ensure those skaters have an icy rink to enjoy, despite the high temperatures.

“We had to build a deck that is completely flat, then we put in a layer of insulation, we put in plastic to hold the water, then we put in a bunch of aluminum tubes,” Jackson said. “We actually run glycol through those tubes at about 15 to 20 degrees, so that when we start adding water to it, it forms the ice and keeps the ice even when it’s 80 degrees outside.”

Session times have also been implemented to combat long lines and wait times.

“We are selling 90-minute sessions so you can buy tickets in advance,” Jackson said. “The sessions start weekdays at 2 p.m., 4 p.m., 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. Weekend sessions will start at noon, 2 p.m., 4 p.m., 6 p.m. and 8 p.m.”

Jackson said tickets will be sold at the gate, but warns they might sell out fast. He said if every ticket sells out, around 190 skaters will be allowed on the ice. Tickets are $17 for adults and $12 for children under 12. Skate assists can be rented for $5. Appointment times can be made on the city’s website.

“Socks are required. We do suggest gloves. We will have a food truck on site so you can spend a couple of hours and enjoy it,” Jackson said.

The rink will open through Sunday, Jan. 9.

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