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Public Ice Skating Makes for Good Cold Fun

Alyssa Brown (barely two) looks like a miniature ice princess as she fearlessly navigates the crowd - with dad nearby.

The Roanoke Civic Center is home this year to VT Hockey which runs through January, as well as some interesting sounding events such as “Guns N’ Hoses,” the 8th annual charity hockey game (Jan. 8) to benefit MDA. Mixed in with the official events are days the rink is open for public skating.

On a recent Sunday afternoon, dubbed “Blessed Blades,” by Sunday sponsor Spirit FM, there was a good-sized crowd of all ages and ability levels making their way round and round the rink. The sound of scraping ice skate blades against the backdrop of Christmas music lent a holiday feel for skaters and onlookers alike.

Many brand new to skating clung to the side rails as they struggled to stay upright, while one young couple both dressed in black, sailed along effortlessly — with the guy skating backwards leading his lady as they wove their way through the crowd. There were families that came together, church groups, people just looking for something fun to do on a cold day, and according to one civic center worker, there are a good many parents who drop off their kids so everyone won’t get cabin fever.

Perhaps the youngest skater was Alyssa Brown, who just turned two. Decked out in requisite pink hooded snow jacket, little Alyssa took six inch steps without ever lifting her feet off the ice, slowly making her way along.  Her dad David Brown seemed completely at ease taking such a young tyke on the ice – turns out he is a “skate guard” who spends many hours keeping things moving, so he often takes his kids with him.

He says being on the ice with people with such different ability levels means that he “ends up giving lessons more than guarding.” With a warm smile, the youthful Brown seems perfect for helping people navigate the challenges of being on the ice.

Public skate days will continue through January, with the “School’s Out” week (Dec. 27 – Dec. 31, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. sponsored by CW5 & Subway) providing a great diversion for kids during winter break.

For more information, visit or call (540) 853-LIVE. Tickets are $5 per person with an additional $2 skate rental fee. Groups of 20 or more receive $1 off each ticket.

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