Ohio University ice skaters are bringing a magical event to the people of Athens.
Bird Arena is hosting the annual Winter Wonderland Ice Show on Sunday. The show mostly features children who live in Athens and are in elementary, middle or high school who have been coached by Ohio University students. Sometimes a few of the coaches perform as well, but the main idea of the event is to bring together the people of Athens with the people of OU.
Maya Oshita, the Learn to Skate and figure skate graduate assistant, is always excited to participate in the show because of her passion to bond the OU students with the people of Athens.
If You Go:
What: Winter Wonderland Ice Show
When: 7 p.m., Sun.
Where: Bird Arena
Admission: Adults: $5; Children: $4; OU students/staff; $4
“I believe it’s really important for the OU students to support the kids in the Athens community,” Oshita said.
Oshita is a part of Learn to Skate, a group of OU students who range anywhere from freshmen to graduate students. Learn to Skate focuses on the foundational aspects of ice skating. Through the Campus Recreation division of Student Affairs, the students become coaches and teach children and adults the basics of ice skating before they compete and perform outside of the program.
After the coaches and kids have been working on their routines for a few months, the Winter Wonderland show gives them a space to be the center of attention and show off all of their hard work.
Though Oshita is happy because she’s a part of the show, her favorite part of the production is the decoration of the arena. Before the show, the coaches close the rink for a few hours and turn it into a top-to-bottom winter wonderland.
“It’s so great to see the kids walk in the door and see that the place they come to regularly has changed into this fairytale place,” Oshita said. “Seeing their eyes light up is priceless.”
Oshita really encourages OU students to come and support the younger population of Athens, but she also encourages families in Athens to attend because of the idea behind the event.
“It’s a great tradition for people to start with their families,” Oshita said. “It’s a nice pre-holiday family event, and if they enjoy themselves, they can start coming every year.”
Even without Oshita’s encouragement, OU students are excited to attend the show and see all of the excitement in person.
Catie Bugos, a sophomore studying music production and recording industry studies, thinks the annual event is really great for the Athens area and OU.
“It’s a great activity to get people ready for winter and the holidays,” Bugos said. “It’s also a good way to have students interact with the Athens community.”
Courtney Adams, a senior studying retail merchandising and fashion product development, is excited to attend the show and see all the fun.
“I think that’s a really fun idea, and it definitely helps us as students get involved with Athens as a community and merge the two together,” Adams said.
More important than any of the performances or routines, Oshita believes the ice skating lessons teach children skills they will take with them through the rest of their lives.
“Ice skating teaches children to be confident, creative and healthy,” Oshita said. “The event is a great way for the community to support and celebrate its younger members.”