By SEAN ROWLEY
Those who haven’t visited the ice rink at the Snowflake Winter Festival have only a few more chances to don a pair of blades and test their balance.
Jan. 5 is the last day of Snowflake and the rink operation. The decision was made on New Year’s Eve to extend Snowflake beyond Jan. 1. Hours are 2-10 p.m. and patrons can skate all day for $10.
There was a good turnout on Monday evening, with a couple of dozen skaters on the ice. The Barnett family made its first return to the rink since 2011.
“The day we planned to visit last year, it was so warm the ice was melting out,” said Brandi, who was helping her 2-year-old daughter Alexandra stay on her skates. “I’m really excited that Tahlequah has something like this. It is very good for the community.”
Garrett, keeping track of 5-year-old son Max, said he wanted to get the family to Snowflake “before it closed.”
Alexandra’s first foray onto the ice was troubled. After a few tumbles, she insisted she be carried by her mother.
“Her feet are still a little small for the skates,” Brandi said. “I’m proud of her for trying something new. We are always trying to get the kids to try new things.”
Max’s efforts got a thumbs-up from his dad.
“He did great out there,” Garrett said. “He doesn’t have any trouble if he falls down. (Rink manager Dusty Fore) is very helpful with the young kids - helping them get the general idea of skating. I was impressed.”
Luke Bigby and Chenea Tschirhart dropped by the rink before dinner.
“We thought this would be a fun place to go as a date,” Tschirhart said. “I’ve never been ice skating here before, and this is only my second time ever. It’s fun, but it hurts when you fall. I like that Tahlequah takes the time to put something like this together.”
Six-year-old Keiondra Wilson was a bit shy, but answered affirmatively that her trip to Snowflake would be her first time to ice skate.
“I actually didn’t know anything about this,” said Keiondra’s mother, Jennifer Wilson. “This was actually a gift from my grandpa delivered to me in an envelope. I am from Tahlequah, but I moved to Fort Gibson a couple of years ago and didn’t know Tahlequah was doing this.”