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Skating rink needs volunteers

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Hendersonville's newest holiday treat, ice skating at the Visitors Center, is coming together with an added feature — a fire pit with s'mores. Organizers need loads of volunteers to help with attraction, a fundraiser for the America In Bloom Committee.

Made by a company from Greenville, S.C., the 30x40-foot skating rink will fill most of the parking lot and hold up to 40 skaters at a time. The half-hour skating times will start at the top of the hour. Volunteers will clean the skate blades and apply a chemical to the ice rink and squeegee it off to keep the surface slick, said Mia Freeman, chair of the America In Bloom Committee and the organizer of the ice skating fundraiser.

"The very first day we're having an opening show with a professional skater," Freeman said.

Planners need to fill 4½-hour volunteer slots from 9:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. from Dec. 20 through New Year's Day but they will accept shifts as short as two hours.

Duties include ticket takers, checking ice skates out and back in, cleaning ice skate blades and making sure each skater signs a waiver. The county is requiring that all skaters under 18 have a waiver signed by their parents,

"A lot of the volunteers are elderly so what I'm really concerned about is the cold weather," she said. "They really need to dress warm. We will have the Volunteer Center open during the day."

The TDA is using its own list of volunteers and those who work the Garden Jubilee and Apple Festival to recruit help. Some businesses have signed up to take volunteer slots, too.

Freeman has a busy holiday season. She's also in the cast for "Unwrapping Local History," the play about the Henderson County and Hendersonville history from 1900 through the 1960s. The cast has been rehearsing every night until 10 o'clock and it has four performances next Thursday through Saturday.

"I bit off a lot more than I thought," she said. "I can't believe it I did this to myself."

The TDA, which partnered with America in Bloom on the skating rink, has added a fire pit in the Visitors Center parking lot as part of its overall Home for the Holidays lineup of things to do downtown. For a small fee people can buy a s'mores kit and roast marshmallows. There will also be hot chocolate and other snacks for sale and benches for spectators to watch the skaters. The rink price, $8 for adults and $5 for children, includes the 30-minute skate and skate rental.

“The skating rink is going to be one of the biggest draws we have because it’s unique and there aren’t a lot of communities around that will have anything like it. That’s why it’s getting such a buzz,” said Beth Carden, executive director of the TDA.

To volunteer call Mia Freeman at 828-768-4413.