Pleasanton residents can skate a figure eight beginning tonight when the city's first holiday ice rink opens for the winter season.
A host of grand opening events are slated beginning at 6:30 p.m., including a performance by a synchronized skating team and opening night commentary by San Jose Sharks announcer Randy Hahn, joined by hockey mascot Sharky.
The city's first seasonal rink will operate through Jan. 10 on a portion of the public parking lot that serves the Pleasanton Library and Civic Center on Old Bernal Avenue.
Opening night festivities get under way with the Golden Skate Synchronized Skating Teams at 6:40 p.m., followed by Hahn and other speakers and then the rink's first skating session at 7:30 p.m.
Valley View Elementary School auctioned off several tickets to be the first to skate on the 14,000-square foot ice rink. The tickets were donated by local Realtor Sue Flashberger. The winning children will have their names announced, skate with Sharky and possibly even a few pro Sharks players.
Throughout the rink's operation, skaters will receive a 'Skater's Special' coupon in which they can receive gifts or discounts from more than 50 downtown Pleasanton retailers and restaurants.
In addition, free horse-drawn carriage rides on Friday and Saturday nights will transport visitors to and from the rink and downtown's Museum on Main. The free rides are being offered through Dec. 12. For more information, contact the Pleasanton Downtown Association at 484-2199.
Because parking is expected to be at a premium around the library and Civic Center, the Alameda County Fairgrounds will open its parking lot at the corner of West Angela Street and Pleasanton Avenue during the skating season.
For more information, visit or http://devconholidayicerink.com.
Dublin also will debut its own holiday ice rink today as well. "Holiday on Ice," operated by California Ice Adventures, will open a 7,000-square-foot rink in the new Dublin Toyota dealership parking lot next to Hacienda Crossings.
The rink, backed by Pleasanton resident and hockey enthusiast Paul Bates, features an all weather covered indoor/outdoor ice surface, indoor seating and viewing areas and a Fudruckers food concession stand.
For more information, visit www.dublinholidayonice.com.
The Pleasanton rink is bang operated and managed by San Jose Arena Management, which owns the San Jose Sharks, in a deal that was announced a few months ago between SJAM and the city of Pleasanton.
SJAM is paying all costs of building and operating the rink with the city contributing about $20,000 for added power and lighting, costs that will be reimbursed from SJAM profits from ticket sales and sponsorships. All net proceeds from the operations of the winter rink will be donated to Pleasanton education, sports and recreational activities.
The city and SJAM have signed a five-year contract for a holiday rink. The library location was not the preferred choice, however. City Manager Nelson Fialho said he hopes to persuade the owners of properties where Round Table Pizza or the now-closed Domus variety store are located to allow the rink on one of their parking lots next year. So far, these owners have refused.
The Civic Center-Library site was the original location that was approved by the City Council. Later, Fialho, at the recommendation of city staff and SJAM engineers, moved the proposed rink location to Delucchi Park, but was forced to retreat back to the Civic Center lot when several residents on Second Street complained to the council.
As a result of those complaints, at least two council members said they couldn't approve the Delucchi site without formal public hearings and possibly an environmental impact report. Those requirements would likely have put off this year's planned outdoor rink until next year, if then, so the rink site was moved back to the already-approved Civic Center site.
Pleasanton officials tried unsuccessfully to seek a temporary lease on a 3-acre empty strip of land across Old Bernal Avenue from the library that is owned by the city of San Francisco.
The Pleasanton rink will be open from noon to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday. Admission ranges from $10-$16 and includes the price of skate rental. For more information, visit www.devconholidayiccerink.com.
Check back with www.pleasantonweekly.com Friday for full coverage and photos.