New rink featured at annual festival

New attractions should help add more holiday spirit to a local Christmas tradition geared toward children, a local organizer says.
Children’s Hometown Holiday organizer Elaine Poppe is putting the final touches on the 5th annual children’s event, which is to be held the first weekend in December, and she said she is excited about new features including the outdoor ice skating rink. Skating will be free to all the children and will be opened for two days downtown.
“It reminded me of the theme of the old fashioned holidays,” Poppe said, of how she came up with the idea to incorporate an ice rink into the event. “Years ago, the (Auglaize) River froze over and when my children were little, they liked to skate on it.”
Poppe said the river has not froze over in a few years, so she wanted to bring in ice skating for the children.
The ice rink is scheduled to be set up near the intersection of Main and Perry streets, and is sponsored by TSC, G.A. Wintzer & Son, Eagles, VFW, the American Legion, the Knights of Columbus and Amvets, all of Wapakoneta.
There are to be 100 free pairs of skates to use, which will be available in adult and children sizes, and families may also bring their own skates.
“Since the ice is synthetic, it skates a bit different than ice on the river, but is basically the same and you may even find it a bit easier,” Poppe said. “Olympic skaters train on synthetic ice and if you have never tried it, now is a great opportunity.”
In addition, fourth-grader Lacey Detrick, the winner of the Troy Skating Club 36th annual Summer Skate Championship held in July, will be doing a demonstration skate at 10:30 a.m. on Dec. 3.
Her coach and U.S. Champion Glenn Replogle will be at the rink doing the skating demonstration with Lacey. He has skated with Disney on Ice.
The skating rink will be open from 2:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 2 and from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Dec. 3.
Poppe decided to open this event up on Friday, this way children can come after school to skate on the rink.
Poppe, along with the Village Green, will be decorating around the rink to create a sparkling holiday atmosphere.
Another new feature to this year’s event is a tropical rain forest exhibit, which is hosted by Mike Kohlrieser.
This exhibit will be in Generations in Tyme, which is at the intersection of Perry and Auglaize streets.
An old-fashioned photo booth will also be in the same location, so as children and their families wait in line for the photo booth, which will print strips of photos for keepsakes, they can visit the exhibit and watch a skit by Harvest Church.