Skating in the fresh air topped Cherryville’s wish list two years ago.
On Saturday, an outdoor fire crackled and barbecues pumped out an assortment of hot foods as the community shared a special hockey cake created by Annette Welz. The event was dedicated to recognizing and appreciating all the people and businesses instrumental in achieving the creation of their new outdoor community rink.
Nestled in Hanson Park, across the road from Cherryville Elementary School, you know you’re close when you hear the laughter and the sounds of skates carving ice or the thwack of a puck connecting with the boards.
A building stands next to the rink with a huge wall-sized plaque which lists the names of those who donated time, labour, materials and equipment, offered discounts on pricing or made donations.
The interior boasts a heated change room so no more frozen fingers fumbling around lacing up skates, plus extra storage space and the zamboni room.
“This location is convenient. We utilize the rink for our current PE program,” said teacher Marilyn Janzen.
Cherry Creek abuts Hansen Park and as soon as conditions are cold enough, said Lisa Larson, with Cherryville’s recreation committee, the rink is flooded by pumping water from the creek with a fire hose.
Once the base is built up, the Zamboni completes the job.
Last year, the City of Penticton sold them the Zamboni and were only too happy to know it was going to a small community.
“It’s a lot of work but it’s worth it to everyone,” said Larson.
“John Guild, Eric Larson and volunteers oversee the ice and we receive a yearly grant for operating costs from the North Okanagan Regional District.”
The rink is open to everyone, weather permitting, seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m.
You know it’s really working, said Larson, when children with December to February birthdays lace up their skates and celebrate at the rink.