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‘Just a fun place to be’: Holiday ice rink set to open in downtown Coeur d’Alene on Saturday

UPDATED: Sat., Oct. 30, 2021

The Coeur d’Alene on Ice popup rink sits glistening, waiting for eager skaters to spin across the ice at the grand opening Saturday.

After years of operating popup ice rinks in California, Jerome and Andrea Murray moved to Coeur d’Alene last year. They saw how little use the downtown McEuen Park got in the winter months and thought it was the perfect location for an outdoor ice rink.

Parks and Recreation Director Bill Greenwood agreed. For years, the Parks department has been looking for winter activities, but nothing came together, he said.

When the Murrays came to him with the idea, Greenwood was thrilled.

“I think it’s the perfect fit for our downtown area,” Greenwood said.

People can ice skate, then head downtown for a bite to eat or even catch a cruise on the lake, he said.

The rink, located next to and in the McEuen Park pavilion, is 80 by 120 feet and serviced by a full-size Zamboni, Jeremy Murray said.

Murray built a temporary building under the pavilion’s roof to house ticket sales, skate rentals and a small concessions stand. The building and the outdoor space were transformed into a winter wonderland by Pointer Interiors, with three igloos that are available for rent rinkside.

“We went over the top,” Murray said, sitting in one of the plush igloos.

The oval rink overlooks Lake Coeur d’Alene on one side, mountains to the other, with downtown behind it.

At night, the space transforms again with lights embedded in the ice that change in tune with the music coming from the DJ booth at one end of the rink. Lights strung overhead twinkle, often drawing in deer from the nearby forest, Murray said.

The setup has been a grueling process, Murray said, but the space turned out better than he imagined.

“We want something that becomes tradition for families,” Murray said.

The rink opens Saturday for Halloween weekend and is set to remain open seven days a week through New Year’s Day.

Tickets for 90-minute skate sessions are available online at Tickets, including skate rental, cost $12 for children 12 and under and $16 for everyone 13 and older.

The rink is available for birthday and holiday parties, along with other events.

This weekend, patrons are encouraged to get into the spooky season by donning their Halloween costumes for a spin around the ice. It’s likely the first in a series of theme skates, Murray said.

On Friday afternoon, Murray and his team were putting the finishing touches on the rink before opening day. The Wake Up Call double decker coffee bus sat beside the rink ready to open, the concession stand all set up to serve popcorn, hot cocoa and other snacks, and the skates neatly lined up on the shelves.

“It’s just a fun place to be,” Murray said, surveying the rink with a smile on his face.

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