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Ice Palace offers respite from holiday

Ice skating at Riverfront Park on Thanksgiving has been a tradition for Jenni Danley’s family.

“This or skiing,” the Spokane native said. Her 5-year-old daughter, Emma, helped choose this year. She’s been seeing ice skating on television and saying, “I like that Mom. I want to do that.”

Emma, equipped with knee pads and a relative on each hand, joined a couple dozen other skaters at Riverfront Park Ice Palace on Thursday. A few were there for tradition, some showed up spontaneously and others came for the exercise.

While no one said they were directly inspired by the 2010 AT&T U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Spokane Jan. 14-24, a handful said they do plan on attending one or two performances.

Donna Sedgwick ate dinner downtown Thursday, then decided on the spur of the moment to take her daughter, Allie Gomes, ice skating for the first time.

“Look Mom, no wall,” Sedgwick said, quoting her daughter. Allie took short strides on the ice and balanced herself with arms out.

Kristina Johanson, who was there with Sedgwick and Gomes, has been skating for about two years. The 13-year-old said she’s often inspired by certain professional skaters. “I love watching the beauty and the grace of the sport. I love the speed. Speed is everything to me.”

Like a roller skating rink, the beginners and amateurs took the outside edge of the oval, while the more experienced did tricks and spins in the middle. All the while, old top 40 hits played overhead.

Brett Hendricks took his family to ice skate to “work up an appetite before dinner.” They’d already gone for a bike ride – his 4-year-old son’s choice.

His daughter, also named Emma, chose to skate. She’d recently been inspired by professionals to try the sport, but not the ones she saw on television.

“We went to Disney on Ice,” Hendricks said. “She asked if she could do that when she grows up.”