Starting today, get into the holiday spirit as downtown Columbia welcomes an outdoor ice rink.
The 50-by-70 foot rink, at the corner of Hampton and Main streets in front of the Columbia Museum of Art, is set to open today at 5 p.m. and stay open until 9 p.m.
Magic Ice USA, which has outdoor ice rinks in 33 cities this winter, has expertise in operating such systems even in warm-weather locales. It has set up rinks in the past in Winter Park, St. Augustine and Daytona Beach, Fla. Though a heavy rain might knock out a day, heat has never closed one of their rinks, said Magic Ice president Byron Sharp.
Thats important, since Famously Hot Columbia hit 80 last year on Nov. 22 and had 10 days above 70 last year in the six-week window the rink will be operating.
The ice-making process involves a 100-ton refrigeration system pumping a chilled fluid through tubing in rows of mats on the rink floor. Thin layers of water quickly freeze on the mats, creating a skating surface. On extremely warm days some melted water can pool in puddles on the surface.
Similar rinks in Greenville and Charlotte have been big hits in recent years. Columbia is paying Magic Ice $158,500 to build, maintain and operate the rink.
Main Street Ice will be open seven days a week until Jan. 6. Hours will be 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 1-9 p.m. Sunday. The rink will be closed on Christmas Day.
The fee, which includes skate rental, is $10 for adults and $8 for children under the age of 12. Discounts are available for seniors and military personnel.
Reservations will be taken for large groups.
Details: (803) 545-3100.