Fountain Square ice skating hotspot during the holiday season

Nathalie Schickendantz | Staff Writer

Fountain Square has redecorated for the holidays.

Fountain Square in downtown Cincinnati celebrates winter early by adding an ice rink to the plaza. On November 24, O’Keeffe’s Ice rink began its season with an elaborate grand opening.

People gather in the square for a countdown to the christmas tree lighting as they listen to a live performance by the second wind band. The rink continues its long season with special events until late February. All ages can enjoy ice skating under the lights in the heart of downtown.

More than 600 people come daily to enjoy ice skating and refreshing snacks served at the rink’s refreshment bar, the ‘Cincideutsch Christkindlmarkt.’

Instead of spending the winter inside, ice skating makes the best of the cold weather and allows the community to come together in an exciting tradition. The plaza hosts special events to enjoy throughout the season. Every Friday night pop music thunders in the square for ‘Radio Skates Night.’ On occasion, the large LED Video board plays a movie, such as ‘Frozen’ whilst skaters glide on the ice. The ‘Watch It & Wear’ inspires children to dress to impress whilst meeting their favorite characters from the movie. Santa Claus also makes a weekly appearance on Saturday’s throughout the season.

Senior Paige Riegert said when Santa made his appearance, children’s faces lit up with joy as they cheered for the man in the red suit.

“My favorite part was watching a man dressed as Santa Claus propel down the side of the building.” Riegert said. “He came on the ice and performed tricks, like spinning in circles and yelling ‘Ho, Ho, Ho.’”

When Santa is not around, the lights and Christmas tree put on a show of their own. A 50-foot tree captivates the southwest corner with a string of multiple colored lights and a large red star resting on the top.  The fountain statue switches colors periodically accompanied by the Fifth/Third bank building whose windows flash with flamboyant colors. The atmosphere is festive and embellished with harmonious lights in every tree.

Freshman Manuela Capiello said the square is gorgeous at night when beautified with bold lights.

“It’s funny because when you first enter the rink, you’re really unstable and embarrassed, but you look up and see adults falling and you enjoy the embarrassment together,” Capiello said. “Once you get the hang of it, you look at the atmosphere and see the lights sparkle in the tree and the statue changing color.”