Tree lighting and ice rink kick off Christmas |

Tree lighting and ice rink kick off Christmas

F.T. Norton
Nevada Appeal Staff Writer
Cathleen Allison/Nevada AppealAbby Rivas, 1, is seen through one of the Christmas trees lit during the Silver & Snowflakes Holiday Tree Lighting ceremony Thursday night at the Capitol. Hundreds of people attended the annual event.

Three-year-old Shelby Wickstead waited patiently in her Christmas dress and stockings while her father Kris and sister Amelia, 8, laced up their skates at the grand opening of the Arlington Square Ice Rink in downtown Carson City on Thursday.

The tiniest Wickstead had been skating a few times before at Lake Tahoe and Reno with her family, avid ice skaters, but this would be the first time she, along with everyone else, would step foot on Carson City’s own ice.

After her father helped her into her skates, Shelby clutched the bench and stood on wobbling little legs to proclaim, “I’m going ice skating!”

Hundreds of people attended the tree lighting and grand opening, with dozens partaking in the inaugural skate.

“What an amazing night it is to be here talking to you from an ice rink right on Main Street,” said Supervisor Robin Williamson in a keynote speech just after 6 p.m. “Even though the economy has most of us on thin ice it seems Carson City citizens haven’t let that stop you from clinging to opportunities to enjoy one another in our up-and-coming, vibrant downtown.”

Dave and Rupal Martinez have lived in Carson City for 14 years, but Thursday was the first time the couple and their daughters Hannah, 10, and Alesha, 12, attended the tree lighting at the Capitol.

After Gov. Jim Gibbons flipped a switch lighting two trees on the Capitol grounds, the Martinezes made their way the three blocks to the Nugget’s former parking lot at the corner of Carson and Robinson streets and stood with the droves of people waiting to enter.

It was the ice rink that brought the family out on this night.

“You can’t beat it,” said Dave as his girls made their first foray in skates onto the ice.

Alesha and Hannah were fast studies.

“I’m learning quick!” said Alesha as other novice skaters tried to stay on their feet behind her. “It’s not as hard as I thought it would be.”

Rupal said she and her husband visit downtown often.

“But this made it more special,” she said.

The lure of the ice rink brought Danielle Lombardi out for the first time to the tree lighting too.

“I love Christmas and I just decided to come downtown,” she said.

Brandy Krone, 15, said she wouldn’t step on the ice Thursday, but a skater since she was nine, she was going to take advantage of the new rink.

Her father, Bryan, a rollerblade enthusiast, said he’d never ice skated, but he’d take advantage of the new attraction before it was over.

Mayor-elect Bob Crowell said, “When I grew up here this was a hotel, then it was a parking lot. I thought I would never see it anything other than a parking lot.”

“This is a skating rink, next to historic buildings and casinos, and the restaurants are full,” Crowell said. “This is great.”

The 56-by-85-foot temporary rink was built by Ice Rink Events. It is open through mid-February. The city has agreed to partner with the Nugget to pay half of the $134,000 cost.