Outdoor Skating Rink Likely to Open this Weekend
Bing.com aerial view of the Alex T. Duffy Fairgrounds municipal arena
December 12, 2013
by Timothy W. Scee II
Special to Newzjunky.com
An outdoor skating rink will soon find its home at the Alex T.
Duffy Fairgrounds, following the popularity of the city’s first
reintroduction of an outdoor skating rink in decades last winter.
Parks and Recreation Superintendent Erin E. Gardner Wednesday
said the city is relocating its rink from last year’s location at Thompson
Park to tie in with some activities related to the return of Snowtown USA in
“Right now we’re trying to keep the snow clear from the fields so that the
ground freezes,” Mrs. Gardner said. “If weather cooperates, (Parks and
Recreation crews) are either going to start flooding tomorrow
night or Friday
Last winter, fluctuating temperatures caused headaches for city crews assigned
to the maintenance of the outdoor rinks. Warm temperatures two years ago
prevented crews from even forming an outdoor rink at all.
“We had to redo that rink, I think, three times last year because it would
get cold, get warm, and get cold again,” she said. “We will keep this one
as long as we can.”
While most of the visitors to the city’s outdoor rink last year enjoyed
common ice activities like skating and hockey, Mrs. Gardner said some residents
brought bicycles to onto the ice to do some “ice biking.”
The Parks and Recreation superintendent said the outdoor rink will include some
outdoor hockey games during Snowtown USA, including one to benefit Wounded
“If people are not public skating and kids want to bring some hockey sticks
and shoot a puck around, there’s nothing wrong with that," she said.
Mrs. Gardner said some plans for Snowtown USA, a six-day event to celebrate
winter in the city, were finalized after a meeting Wednesday
The event will kick off with fireworks at 6
p.m., Dec. 31, at the Alex T. Duffy Fairgrounds and will feature several
on-site events including snowman building competitions, children’s crafts, a
Watertown Privateers hockey game and snow softball tournament.
A chowder cook-off, Mrs. Gardner said, was taken off the activities list.
“We are starting to get sponsors for things, so hopefully by the end of next
week, we will have them for everything,” she said.
The event will finish at Dry Hill Ski Area, 23682 County Route 67, with a
torch-carrying down the hill.
“I think it all came together very well and the (Greater Watertown-North
Country Chamber of Commerce) has been a huge help,” she said. “There
have been a few committee members who have done a lot of the work to get
everything done so it’s definitely coming together.”
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