Free skate night draws large crowd

First Posted: 12/25/2009

Starlite Skate Center opened for free skating last night, giving families something to do on Christmas when many other businesses were closed.
Christmas is about family, and skating can involve the whole family. Its fun for all ages, said Bo Phillips, owner of the skate center.
He added, We thought this would be a good promotion for us. Theres not a lot to do on Christmas night.
This was the first free skate night on Christmas that Phillips has had since he took over the rink a few years ago. When holidays fall on a weekend, the rink often stays open.
But we really didnt know what to expect, with what they were saying about the weather, said Phillips.
He was also worried that a lot of people might be out of town visiting family, but by 7:30 p.m., the skate center had 135 people there.
Phillips said, Theyve been pretty steady coming in … A lot of these are regulars.
Laura Sawyers brought her 11-year-old daughter Ashley out to skate. Laura said, This is an every Friday and Saturday night thing for us.
She said the crowd was like a normal weekend night.
I expected less, Laura said.
She explained why she came out: It gives the kids something to do. Theyre safe. Its a good place.
Its the only place for kids, added her friend Terry Barr, who brought his daughter Taleaha, 11.
Ashley said she came cause its free, cause its fun.
Taleaha added, Its boring at home.
Andrea Phillips came with a group of six. She said, We really had nothing else to do. We just wanted to get out.
Cherri and Robert Worrell came with Phillips. Cherri said they hadnt been skating in 10 years.
Its been great. A lot of fun, Cherri remarked.
Robert said, Its awfully nice of the business owner to open up like this.
Evan Tonnesen moved to Mount Airy around seven years ago, and he brings his family to the skate center at least once a month. Christmas was no different.
We had cabin fever, and I thank God he was open tonight … My kids are having a blast tonight, Tonnesen said.
He remembered when Phillips became the new skate center owner. He said Phillips has steadily made improvements to the center.
This guy, hes been so wonderful, said Tonnesen.
Phillips is now kicking off his busy season at the rink.
Tonnesen said, For entertainment, you cant do anything cheaper … Its economical for my family.
Next week the center will feature all-day skates, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. It will also host a New Years party on the 31st from 7 p.m. to 1 a.m., complete with a balloon drop at midnight.
On Jan. 8, Team Vanilla, a group of jam skaters who have appeared on shows such as Dance Crew, will be at the rink. They will be there from 7 to 10 p.m., then they will do a special skating jam camp for those interested in staying later.
Contact Meghann Evans at [email protected] or 719-1952.

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