The Rothman Ice Rink at Dilworth Park opened Friday, and we went to witness one of the greatest holiday traditions in Philadelphia — watching people fall on their asses.
The rink opened at noon, so Billy Penn sports editor Dan Levy and I braved the near gale force winds in our light jackets. Apparently Mother Nature decided winter should start right when we were walking up Broad Street. Of course we ducked into the subway to continue our travels underground. Alas, we were disappointed as construction sent us back up into the tundra.
Eventually, we completed our three block walk to Dilworth, just in time to be transported back to 1945.
As the park came into view, we were excited to finally get an opportunity to see people fall. Sadly, we were greeted not by regular awkward skaters but instead by a rather extravagant ice show being performed by a group of under-dressed, fully freezing ice dancers while the Philly POPS serenaded the audience.
An opening ceremony followed, with a host of speakers, including a doctor from the Rothman Institute (who insisted on showing up in his scrubs and long white doctor’s coat) alongside Karen Rodgers from 6ABC and representatives from Temple University and Center City District.
Speakers thanked veterans for their service and acknowledged the troop of Boy Scouts in attendance.
The speakers concluded the opening ceremony with a ribbon cutting, followed by a red carpet rollout that included Temple’s mascot, Hooter, and a Flyers Zamboni that didn’t even clean the ice. A few dozen volunteers followed Hooter out onto the red carpet to flutter patriotic red, white and blue ribbons while the POPS delighted the freezing audience — seriously, it was so cold — with festive music.
If this recap of our harrowing excursion seems over the top, just check out this quote from the Center City District website.
The Rothman Institute Ice Rink at Dilworth Park is an unparalleled entertainment experience on Philadelphia’s center stage in a wonderfully urban and unique setting. Open seven days a week, the rink offers wintry fun for all ages, with a full slate of programs.
Following the ceremony, we stuck around as those ribbon fluttering volunteers shuffled across the ice, and unfortunately, none of them fell.
We then went to the visitors entrance, hoping some skaters would be eagerly awaiting to get on the ice, yet it was a ghost town.
We debated sticking around to see if anyone would show up — and even discussed going out there ourselves to get a few good spills on camera — but the cold got the best of us. We failed our mission. Broken and defeated, we trekked back to Billy Penn HQ, fallen.
Admission at the Rothman Rink is $3 for children, $5 for adults and $10 for skate rentals. Happy falling.