By Elizabeth Bonin, Staff Writer
(Jan. 16, 2020) Worcester County’s synthetic ice rink is on the move, most likely to Berlin next. The rink had its debut at the Worcester County Recreation Center in Snow Hill with on Friday, Dec. 20 with the “Elves on the Loose” event.
While there, families had the opportunity to skate, watch the movie “Elf,” take pictures with Santa Claus, participate in the Great Elf Hunt and create arts and crafts.
Program Director Allen Swiger said the event’s success was the sweeter because of the constraints of time and money.
“We had about 600 people come, which was a good start,” Swiger said. “We did it in a time crunch and put it together very quickly with a limited budget.”
The Recreation Center also held open skate days from Dec. 21 to 23 and the 26 and 27. Swiger said that a combined 1,000 skaters came through for the open skate and Elves on the Loose.
“We had a whole lot of first-time skaters, which was very encouraging,” Swiger said. “We did have some experienced people show up and they tested out the ice to see how it felt and see if it had that real feel to it and they did. They said it was great and it was very similar to skating over ice.” A representative from Glice, the company that produces synthetic ice rinks, told Recreation and Parks staff that the rink would take two days to set up, but a team of 12 staff members only needed about three hours to set up and three-and-a-half hours to tear down.
“I told him at the beginning, ‘I know you’re here for two days, but we got a good team. We got people. We do this stuff professionally. I think we’ll move pretty quick.’ and we did,” Swiger said. “It was actually funny how fast it took.”
Tom Perlozzo, director of Worcester County Recreation, Parks, Tourism and Economic Development, told Worcester County Commissioners during their Tuesday, Jan. 7 meeting that they were scheduling the ice rink all around the county. “Currently, we have plans to take it to the Berlin fire hall, upstairs,” Perlozzo said. “The auxiliary group will run the skating rink for us.”
Swiger confirmed that bringing the ice rink to Berlin fire hall next is the goal, but the plans are not official yet. Within the next two weeks, he hopes to have a full schedule for the ice rink for the next few months.
Swiger said that the biggest scheduling challenge is finding an indoor space large enough. The rink is 32 by 52 feet. The department is focusing on indoor spaces so skaters won’t have to deal with weather challenges. That’s a particular challenge for Pocomoke City.
“We need about 2,800 square feet of open space, and that’s at a minimum, to be able to accommodate everything that we need to do,” Swiger said. “Pocomoke is a much smaller town. There’s not a lot of buildings there that have that space. That’s our challenge now, is figuring out where it can actually can go.”
Perlozzo said he’s speaking with representatives from Pocomoke Middle School and the West Ocean City outlet mall to host the ice rink as well.
In November, the Worcester County Commissioners agreed to allow the Recreation and Parks Department to reallocate funds from special event savings to purchase the synthetic ice rink. The purchase cost was $69,000, but with donations, the amount was brought down to $49,000, according to Perlozzo. With advertisements and sponsors, that cost could be even lower.
For more information, contact Swiger at 410-632-2144 ext. 2520 or firstname.lastname@example.org.