Ice rink headed to Harlan

While winter is winding down and Harlan County residents are looking anxiously for the start of spring, the Harlan Tourism and Convention Commission is already making plans to bring a new attraction to the area in November.

According to Harlan City Tourism Director Brandon Pennington, plans have been made to bring an ice rink to Harlan for those folks who would like to do a little ice skating during cooler weather.

“We’re looking to bring an ice rink into Harlan from mid-November to mid-December,” Pennington said. “It will be during the Festival of the Mountain Masters, it will be here during the Christmas parade and it will be here during Christmas at the Center and every day in between.”

Pennington said the rink is not a standard ice rink.

“What we’ve rented is not a traditional ice rink,” Pennington said. “It’s not something that actually has ice. It’s a synthetic ice rink, so it has a polymer plastic that can be skated on in all weather – hot or cold – it doesn’t require any upkeep to keep it frozen.”

Pennington said a proposal was put together before any action was taken.

“Before we signed the contract, we put together a proposal so the board could see if it was feasible here in Harlan,” Pennington explained. “Upon doing that we sought sponsorship from local businesses.”

Pennington said local businesses have responded well to the idea.

“Local businesses responded with resounding support,” Pennington said. “They’re looking forward to having this here. We probably have about 15 sponsors at this point.”

Pennington added if anybody would like to sponsor the ice rink, contact the Harlan Center at 606-573-4156.

“We’re going to partner with organizations in the community,” Pennington said. “Anyone who has a youth based service or athletic service, we want to partner with them to provide opportunities for youth who may not be able to do it otherwise.’

Ice skates will be available for rent.

“We’ve also contacted different organizations in the community that will sell refreshments and concessions,” Pennington said.

Pennington explained the rink will likely be located near the Harlan Center.

“We also want to pair with potential party rentals,” Pennington said. “That way, if you wanted to have a party at the Harlan Center, you could also rent the ice rink.”

Pennington said the ice rink will be in operation for approximately three weeks starting in mid-November.

Pennington added the ice rink may return if there is a positive response from the public.