The holiday season, at its heart, is about community, family and the traditions that bring us together. Although just in its fifth season, Oly on Ice has solidified its place as a can’t-miss, memory-making event in our wintertime routines. Its water views and twinkle lights are such an organic addition to Olympia’s downtown, that I sometimes forget there was ever a winter when it wasn’t there. Season five kicks off on November 17 and runs through January 15.
“During our rainy winter months,” reflects City of Olympia Recreation Supervisor Luke Burns, “it can be a challenge to find indoor family-friendly activities. We love how Oly on Ice has become a winter tradition for many families and we are excited to see the tent go up again!”
Community Sponsors Support Oly on Ice
Oly on Ice, as with all magical endeavors, is made possible through donations of time, resources, and money by community partners and sponsors.
“This is your local ice rink and is a community center,” says Luke, “It is a collaboration of many local community members and organizations. You can see just how many different people and organizations are involved as you look at the sponsor logos decorating the walls of the rink.” A complete list of season five sponsors can be found on the Oly on Ice website.
Julie Owens, natural resources department program and policy manager for the Squaxin Island Tribe, grew up skating in Alaska on the ponds near her home.
“Sponsoring Oly on Ice supports Squaxin Island Tribe values of supporting family and community,” explains Julie. “Oly on Ice is a fun and safe place to connect with friends and neighbors and laugh and make a fool of yourself. Even if you have never skated before I encourage you to dive in and try it.”
Spend Time in Olympia
In 2022, Oly on Ice hosted almost 22,000 skaters, with thousands more spectators, boosting Olympia-area revenue through shopping, dining, other area attractions and even overnight hotel stays. This significant economic impact cannot be ignored.
“After promoting Oly on Ice last year as part of our Lodging Tax Award Recipient Support Program,” shares Annette Pitts, CTA and CEO of Experience Olympia and Beyond, “we were incredibly impressed by the level of professionalism involved in organizing and producing the activity, and the landslide of interest from locals, visitors and the press. This year we decided to sponsor the event in addition to continuing to promote the activity, and hopefully, add a little more support to city staff running the program. We work hand in hand with the City of Olympia in nearly everything we do – they are incredible partners for our organization – so this partnership makes total sense for us.”
“Oly on Ice is different for a few reasons,” adds Annette. “It only happens during an important time of year throughout the holiday season, when folks are feeling festive, and looking for opportunities to get out and spend time with friends and family. While obviously guests have fun skating, the experience brings added cache, being located downtown in walking distance to shopping, dining, and other wintertime activities and events that make for multiple days of family-friendly activities. There is something special about being close to the water as well. The combination is particularly special for our visiting guests who don’t have this unique combined experience where they live.”
Ice Skating in Olympia 2023
And if ice skating, holiday memories and community support weren’t enough reasons to come and play, Oly on Ice hosts multiple special events throughout the holiday season. Some featured events and performers to look forward to include:
- Studio West Dance Academy on-site opening weekend to promote upcoming Nutcracker performance. The Rat King will be out on the ice on Sunday, November 19!
- Sensory Skate days take place during the first hour on Sundays and Mondays, featuring low lights and no music, brought to Oly on Ice in partnership with South Sound Parent to Parent.
- Rose Garden Singers, December 4.
- Choir led by local artist Chivan Lim, performing Saturdays in December.
- The return of on-ice performer Debbie Leung.
“We are excited to see everyone for another great ice rink season,” says Luke. “Season passes will once again be available. Please remember to wear thick socks and we will see you soon!”
Visit the Oly on Ice website for hours, fees, special events and frequently asked questions.