ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – It’s 6 p.m. on a Friday night and things are definitely different in Albuquerque’s Civic Plaza. Normally, just about all of the city and county workers would’ve left for the day and the place would be pretty much empty.
Instead it’s buzzing with families and the noise of skates clattering.
Downtown Albuquerque’s anticipated ice rink is now here and it brought with it a couple of food trucks and a trailer full of skates to rent for $3.
It’s a strange sight to be sure, with the skating surface penned in by a fence and bales of hay. The ice is not actually ice, but a synthetic surface made to imitate ice. That means no zamboni is needed to clean the rink, just a “towelboni” to reapply the chemical that makes it slick and a broom to sweep up strands of hay.
Make no mistake, it’s a small rink just about anyway you slice it. That’s something just about everyone KRQE News 13 spoke to Friday mentioned as a drawback. One teen even said she didn’t want to skate once she saw the size.
But the smiles seemed to outweigh the complaints. While parents poured the hot cocoa and snapped pictures, children stumbled around the tiny rink on skates, some even playing tag.
“We came out here because we wanted to try something for the kids… they’d never been ice skating,” said Luis Ramirez who brought his family out Friday evening. “They’ve fallen a couple of times… but they’re having fun. That’s all that matters.”
“My son he’s only four so it’s perfect size for him,” said Angel Trujillo, who came with her three kids. “He can just run around.”
City officials had mentioned earlier in the week that the city would look to expand the rink next year if this year’s version took off. But Friday a city hall source told KRQE News 13 that it’s possible the rink could be expanded this year if the demand keeps up.
The rink is set to stay open from 12 p.m. to 9 p.m. every day of the week through January 4. Then, it will keep those hours only on the weekends and run from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. weekdays. It’s expected to close sometime in February.