Skaters hit the ice rink in downtown Cuyahoga Falls

Phil Keren
Kent Weeklies
Jaden Swisher 15, of Akron's Goodyear Heights, enjoys the opening of the downtown Cuyahoga Falls ice rink on Saturday.
Cuyahoga Falls city employee Jason Pullin sanitizes the handrails at the downtown Cuyahoga Falls ice rink on Saturday.

CUYAHOGA FALLS — The COVID-19 pandemic did not stop people from skating at the city's downtown ice rink last weekend, but the experience is different this year.

The city opened its downtown ice rink last Saturday afternoon and skaters of all ages visited the site both Saturday and Sunday, city spokesperson Kelli Crawford-Smith said.

"[The rink] stayed busy all weekend," she said.

Crawford-Smith said skaters are required to sign in. She noted 140 skaters signed in on Saturday and 93 signed in on Sunday. With the city following public health capacity guidelines, Crawford-Smith said on each day, some skaters had to wait their turn to use the ice.

Because ice skating is not happening at Lock 3 in downtown Akron due to COVID-19, Cuyahoga Falls' skating rink will most likely be a popular destination during the winter months.

More:Coronavirus thaws Akron's ice rink and Santa parade; Lock 3 to host Archie the Snowman

The city of Cuyahoga Falls normally opens its ice rink in conjunction with a holiday event that usually includes a visit from Santa Claus, musical performances, an ice skating show and the lighting of the Christmas tree. However, nearly all of the festivities were canceled this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cuyahoga Falls Mayor Don Walters, with the help of Santa, lit the Christmas tree on Saturday night in an event that was shown on the city's Facebook page. Walters then read the "Polar Express" to the virtual audience.

Due to COVID-19, Crawford-Smith said city employees will limit the number of skaters allowed on the ice at any one time but she noted that the specific amount will vary depending on the ages of skaters.

Amber Harvey helps her son, Ronan Schutt, 6, learn to skate at the rink in downtown Cuyahoga Falls on Saturday.

The ice rink is operating on a first-come, first-served basis. Crawford-Smith said skaters are "encouraged" to wear masks, but noted face coverings are not required since this is an outdoor activity.

The rink will be sanitized 15 minutes before every hour, beginning at 2:45 p.m. each day. Crawford-Smith said all hand railings and high-touch areas will be cleaned. 

The city's ice rink at 2085 Front St. is open 2-8 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday, except on holidays, which have special hours listed on the website at cityofcf.com/places/ice-skating-rink. The rink is tentatively slated to be open through Feb. 15, 2021. Admission is free, and skate rentals are $4 per person.

The rink hours are subject to change without notice, and, if there are updates on public health guidelines, operations may change due to the pandemic.

Reporter Phil Keren can be reached at pkeren@thebeaconjournal.com, or on Twitter at @keren_phil.

Frida Bee, 6, learns to skate with her father, Matt Bee, on Saturday at the downtown ice rink in Cuyahoga Falls.