NEW HAVEN — A popular event among children in the Bend Area will resume this week after several months hiatus.
Friday night roller skating will begin this Friday at the New Haven Community Center, according to Bernita Allen, volunteer community center manager. Skating at the center is a regular winter activity, beginning shortly after the holidays each year and continuing until March 4 when springtime activities, such as baseball, begin.
“We began Friday night skating about six years ago to provide a fun activity for Bend Area youth,” Allen said. “It has grown every year, with an average of 125 attendees every Friday night. The function is operated solely with volunteers.”
The skating is held from 6 to 9 p.m., and volunteers ask that all children be picked up by 9:15 p.m. Allen said elementary age through high school students can attend, as well as children under six years when accompanied by a parent or guardian.
Dee Ingels, mother of Connor and Peyton, said her children attend the skating and really enjoy it.
“It’s a place they can hook up with their friends and have social time outside of school,” Ingels said. “With children all scattered out in our area — New Haven, Letart, Mason, West Columbia, Clifton — it serves as a get-together point and is very well monitored.”
Ingels said she remembers going to the same site, but different building, to skate when she was a child. (Once that building became too unsafe in which to hold events, it was a number of years before the present facility was built.)
“I’m grateful my kids can go and learn to skate,” she added. “Kids don’t get out and do a lot of active stuff these days.”
Admission is $4, which includes skate rental. If a child prefers to bring his own skates, admission is $3. Allen stated everyone, including parents, must pay to enter, whether they are skating or not. Concessions are also sold during the event.
The skating rink is located off Layne Street in the same complex as the municipal swimming pool. The pool is also operated by volunteers, with the exception of the lifeguards. This past summer, the New Haven site was the only operational municipal swimming pool in the county.
Mindy Kearns is a freelance writer for Ohio Valley Publishing who lives in Mason County.