Skating in the Park will return to the Huntsville Museum of Art (HMA) just in time for the holidays. The annual event will bring the beloved outdoor skating rink back to downtown Huntsville. The skating rink will officially open for the season with grand opening ceremonies Nov. 15.

The grand opening festivities will kick-off at 4 p.m. on Nov. 15. The museum will welcome the ice sisters, Anna and Elsa, just before their premiere of Frozen 2. Skaters can also enjoy free hot chocolate, popcorn and skate rentals for the first hour of the event. In addition, the first 25 skaters will receive free passes to the museum and will be entered for a chance to win a family membership.

Andrea Petroff is the Director of Development at HMA. She said Skating in the Park was created eight years ago to welcome families to downtown Huntsville while fundraising to support the museum.

“Skating in the Park was started by the Foundation Board. Dane Block was the president at the time. The Foundation Board always has a fundraiser each year and he just thought it would be a great way to tie together the museum with the park and downtown and just be a unique thing for Huntsville to have,” Petroff said.

Each year the rink hosts additional events and special nights to add to the already festive event. This year the rink will host DJ nights, welcome the Huntsville Havoc for a scrimmage match, have a New Year’s celebration and more.

Petroff said the rink offers something for skaters of all ages. She said the event ties together all the premiere holiday events happening in Huntsville to make for a fun holiday tradition.

“The event for me is just a great way to tie in the community to the museum. It gets people downtown, who might not otherwise be coming to downtown. There are a lot of neat things happening in Huntsville each year, there is the Galaxy of Lights and Tinsel Trail, Early Works does their Santa’s village, it’s just a really great opportunity to make a tradition. Every year we see some of the same people come. We love doing events to just give people, especially kids that are out of school, something to do,” Petroff said.

Beyond planning the event, Petroff said Skating in the Park is something important for her family traditions as well. She said the event is something her family looks forward to each year.

“Personally, my favorite thing is coming down with my family. My kids love it and they have so much fun. We always have characters or superheroes that come down. That’s always fun to watch my children enjoy it,” Petroff said.

According to Petroff, one of the great things about the event is seeing all the foot traffic in the downtown area. She says the Skating Rink helps tie the holiday festivities together.

“I just love being in downtown and seeing the skating rink full and there is just great energy and people just really enjoying the holiday season. We tie in the Tinsel Trail so people will walk over and have dinner at Pane e Vino and go skating and it just kind of makes sense,” Petroff said.

Skating in the Park is made possible by the joint efforts of the Museum Foundation, the City of Huntsville and supportive sponsors. Petroff said the hard work and efforts of the various volunteers and sponsors help make the event successful each year.

“It really would not be possible without the support of our sponsors. We are so grateful for them and all that they do. We are also grateful for the city employees and city support. The city has been helpful every year; the mayor has been fantastic in supporting this endeavor from the very beginning. We could not do it without the help of the city and the city workers. The Foundation Board is also important; it’s comprised of volunteers who work hard each year. It was volunteers that brought this idea to life and they really cultivated it from the very beginning to help it grow to what it is today. Everyone knows just how important it is, and that people love it every year,” Petroff said.

Following the grand opening on Nov. 15, Skating in the Park will be open through Jan. 12. The rink will be open Monday through Thursday from 4 p.m. – 9 p.m., Friday from 4 p.m. – 10 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. – 10 p.m. and Sunday from 12 p.m. – 8 p.m. Visit Skating in the Park on Facebook and Instagram for the latest news on hours and special events.