Etna hosting annual street skate
Several Etna organizations are inviting people for free skating at an outdoor ice rink and other family-friendly activities within the borough's business district.
The second annual Etna Winter Street Skate is slated for 4 to 9 p.m. Feb. 24, at Butler Street between High and Freeport streets.
The Borough of Etna, Etna Economic Development Corp., Etna Deck Hockey Association and the Etna Volunteer Fire Department are sponsoring the event.
Etna is renting its portable rink from Wheeling, W.Va.-based All Year Sports Galaxy. Vadim Slivchenko, former member of the Ukrainian National Hockey Team, founded the company, which uses rinks manufactured from a synthetic material that is not climate-dependent. The Etna rink will feature music, lights and a snow machine.
Last year, Vadim's wife, Lena, said approximately 400 people skated during the inaugural event. As a result, Etna is opting for an expanded 32-foot-by-40-foot rink, as opposed to last year's 20-foot-by-40-foot one.
Guests may rent skates or have their own blades sharpened for free.
Borough Manager Mary Ellen Ramage said the groups started planning the inaugural event as part of the borough's Live Well Allegheny initiative.
“Trying to get people to be active in winter is the hardest time — it gets dark early,” Ramage said. “You just feel sluggish, tired. When we did it last year, we didn't know how it would go, but people just really enjoyed it, especially people that don't have cars or don't have the wherewithal to go to North Park rink to rent skates.”
Children may use walker-like skate aids to provide stabilization when learning how to skate.
Etna junior council member Sophia Kachur will entertain children on the rink while wearing a Tyrannosaurus Rex costume.
“We had a lot of positive feedback from kids who had never been on skates, and the kids just loved it; they had been exposed to something new,” Ramage said.
The Etna Volunteer Fire Department will serve s'mores, Etna Print Circus will offer face painting and the Etna Deck Hockey Association will facilitate street games. Etna Economic Development Corp. and North Hills Community Outreach will have information tables. Etna Neighborhood Association members will also volunteer at the event.
Ramage hopes the Etna Winter Street Skate provides an opportunity for guests to explore the borough's business district.
“It's a way to get people to see each other, meet each other, for organizations to interact, for people to be out in our business district,” she said. “Maybe they've never had the time or go out to the coffee shop. Their kids might be skating — go down and get some coffee or go down to the candy store. Go to the pizza shop.”
As a Live Well Allegheny community through the county Health Department, Etna offers smoke-free parks and buildings, walking maps and trails, fitness classes and a community garden for residents to grow their own food and to donate produce to local food banks.
Erica Cebzanov is a Tribune-Review contributor.