CINCINNATI — The holiday season just got a little brighter, and longer, on Fountain Square.
“The U.S. Bank Ice Rink is opening 21 days earlier, which is something we never have done before,” said Brittney Carden, communication manager with 3CDC, which manages events on the square.
The seasonal attraction, which typically opens near Thanksgiving, will open with an M&M Halloween Costume Contest on the ice at noon on Oct. 30.
Halloween festivities will then continue Friday night from 5 to 11 p.m. with an All Hallow’s Eve Skate and another Costume Party on Ice from 7 until 11 p.m. on Halloween. That event will include live music from Gee Your Band Smells Terrific, drink specials and prizes for best costumes. Skate rentals are free for anyone dressed in costume on both days. The regular $6 admission for rink admissions will still apply.
The opening weekend ends on Sunday with free skate rentals again from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. for anyone wearing their Bengals gear. The Flip Cup All-Stars will provide live music from 11a.m. until 4 p.m. for a Cincinnati Bengals Tailgate Party.
Carden said the early kick-off to ice skating is part of a larger calendar of events 3CDC is rolling out to draw people Downtown.
“We are always looking to improve upon what we do,” she said.
After the Halloween weekend, the rink will roll out those new promotions alongside its traditional Turkey Bowl event that takes place on Tuesday, Nov. 24 and the Macy’s Light Up the Square on Friday, Nov. 27.
One such event is “Meet Your Match Mondays,” where anyone who shows their online dating profile via their mobile phone on Mondays gets a free set of blades.
“Show up with your online dating profile and hopefully sparks will fly,” Carden said.
The idea for the extended skate season began last year when 3CDC began studying what other cities were doing across the country that included a trip to Bryant Park in New York.
“What they noticed is that a lot of these rinks open in October,” Carden said.
Those attractions, like the U.S. Bank rink, use a special kind of ice that stays solid up to 65 degrees.
From there, 3CDC began mapping out its themed events during the extended season that runs through Feb. 15.
Most of the other new promotions this year offer free skate rentals with regular rink admission price.
Those dates and deals include:
- After Schools Special: Area students under 18 receive free skate rentals Monday-Thursday from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Nov. 2 through Nov. 26. Cartoons will play on the Fifth Third Bank LED Video board during the skate.
- Bowling On Ice: Practice for the annual Turkey Bowl on Tuesdays from Nov. 3-17 from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Visitors can receive free skate rentals by donating two non-perishable food items or a gently-used coat that will go to St. Vincent de Paul.
- Watch It & Wear It Wednesdays: 3CDC will show a a different Disney movie every Wednesday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Nov. 4 through Nov. 25. People who come dressed as their favorite characters have the chance to win prizes while they skate and watch the movie.
After Thanksgiving, the rink will go on to host its traditional Santa Skates weekends Nov. 28 through Dec. 20 from noon to 1 p.m. and a “New Year’s Eve Blast" on Thursday, Dec. 31 from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m.
More details for each event can be found at www.MyFountainSquare.com.
Carden said the extended month of activities were possible through the sponsorship of U.S. Bank, Lykins Energy Solutions and IKEA.
"We’re excited to usher in the holiday season a little bit early this year,” Carden said.