POTSDAM — Santa is throwing on his ice skates Sunday and will be skating with kids of all ages at the Pine Street Arena.

The public is invited from 1 to 2 p.m. to participate in the Potsdam Recreation Skate with Santa at the arena, 43 Pine St.

The event is $2 for adults and $1 for children, with kids under 5 years old admitted free. Skate rentals are $3.

There will also be off ice photo opportunities for those not comfortable on skates

“I think maybe two years ago, when I started, we tried it for the first time in a while and we had a really good response and then last year I was kind of overwhelmed with how many people came and supported us during that and had a good time,” Recreation Director Trey T. Smutz said.

In addition to the Skate with Santa event, Mr. Smutz said the Recreation Program this time of year is proud to host several days of free skating.

Sponsored by the Racquette River Lions Club, free public skating is being offered from 1:45 to 2:45 p.m. on Dec. 24, 26, 30 and Jan. 2 and from 11:15 a.m. to 12:25 p.m. on Dec. 27. While admission is free, skate rentals are $3.

“I think it’s just nice to say, ‘if you guys can get here it’s free skating if you have skates, but at the same time, if we had a family that came in here and had five or six kids and read the fine print and said it was free and didn’t expect to pay for skates, we’re not going to charge them $3 for all six of those people. We’re going to try to cut a deal for them.”

Mr. Smutz said he was also appreciative of the county Youth Bureau, which has given between $3,000 to $5,000 in grant money over the past several years to grow its selection of skates to rent.

“We just try to give back to the community as much as we can,” he said. “We know we don’t have as much public skating dates as we would like to since we’ve been so busy with junior hockey and varsity this time of year, so anytime we can do a special event around our normal public skating time is a great thing.”

Additionally, he said the Recreation Program is trying to maximize the time they have for the public to utilize the ice by offering rentals for parties and gatherings.

“As for our rentals, our typical ice rental fee is $115 per hour, but we have reduced fees for those looking to hold a private birthday party at the arena,” he said. “The warm room space is typically $25 per hour, and rental skates are $3 a pair.”

However, Mr. Smutz said he is able to find a time of unused ice, he would discount the three into a package for $100.

“Therefore, someone who may not be a part of a hockey family can rent an hour of ice, use the warm room prior, during, or after for a couple hours, and free rental skates for the party,” he said. “We’ve seen an increase in our other ice rentals due to these birthday packages.”

Two years ago, Lowe’s Home Improvement, as part of their community-related project grants, went to the arena and redid the warm room and made it more inviting, with Mr. Smutz adding some tables and chairs up, leading to the space being used more than ever, he said.

“It’s been a really nice thing, especially to see all the young kids come who might not be familiar with the rink,” Mr. Smutz said. “So anytime we can get someone who might not be coming through these doors to do that and have a good experience, that is kind of what we are going for.”

Other rentals include: Snowshoes for $5 a person, $10 for a family (which can be rented overnight and weekends), arena rental for the day when the ice is out is $300, but depending on other requirements such as electricity and set-up, additional fees may be applied.

To rent space or for more information, contact the arena at (315) 265-4030 or email Mr. Smutz at tsmutz@vi.potsdam.ny.us or visit the Potsdam Recreation Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Potsdam-Recreation-79904081847/

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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