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St. Pete Pier to have real ice rink for the holidays

Skaters in balmy St. Petersburg will have waterfront ice skating when Winter Beach opens Nov. 20-Jan. 17.
Greg Yarman, 47, who is carrying Elias Yarman, 2, and Michelle Manning 47, of Ohio, walk along a boardwalk at the St. Pete Pier in August. An ice skating rink and holiday shops are planned at the pier from Nov. 30-Jan. 17.
Greg Yarman, 47, who is carrying Elias Yarman, 2, and Michelle Manning 47, of Ohio, walk along a boardwalk at the St. Pete Pier in August. An ice skating rink and holiday shops are planned at the pier from Nov. 30-Jan. 17. [ IVY CEBALLO | Times ]
Published Oct. 26
Updated Oct. 26

The St. Pete Pier will have a real ice skating rink set up next to Spa Beach for the holidays, the city announced Tuesday.

Skaters in balmy St. Petersburg will have a view of Tampa Bay while gliding on real ice. The 4,000-square-foot ice rink will be the centerpiece in what they will call Winter Beach. It will also have an adjacent shopping village, food and holiday events after it opens Nov. 20.

There will be themed skating nights such as ‘90s Night, Country Night and TikTok Tuesdays to skate and dance to TikTok’s most viral hits. There will also be some snow days and a Winter Beach Arcade set up for kids. See winterbeachstpete.com/activities for a list of special events.

The grand opening will be 4-9 p.m. on Nov. 20. Regular hours will be 4-11 p.m. weekdays and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. There will be extended hours during the week of Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s and Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Jan. 17, the last day of the rink’s operation.

It will be free to stroll around Winter Beach, where a holiday market will be set up with local vendors, artists and food for sale, from hot cocoa to smoked turkey legs.

Skating will cost $17, which includes skate rental for 75 minutes. You can buy tickets and reserve a skate time online at winterbeachstpete.com/ice-skating. Organizers said reserving a time in advance is recommended and walk-up availability is not guaranteed.

Santa will have a spot set up on Winter Beach to take pictures with kids, though a date has not been announced yet for his arrival. There will be a mailbox for kids to send letters to Santa.

The ice skating rink in Tampa's Winter Village at Curtis Hixon Park has been a big hit since it opened in 2010.
The ice skating rink in Tampa's Winter Village at Curtis Hixon Park has been a big hit since it opened in 2010. [ LUIS SANTANA | Times ]

The construction will begin on Monday, when 80 tons of sand will be brought on site to build a base to hold the ice skating rink. A huge tent, chillers and a Christmas tree will be installed by Nov. 19 for a “soft opening” to test out the rink, with a grand opening for the public the next day.

Tampa’s annual Winter Village skating rink in Curtis Hixon Park has been a big hit since it first opened in 2010. Even when organizers slashed capacity to 50 percent last December because of distancing needed for COVID-19 concerns, attendance actually increased more than 11 percent. Tampa’s Winter Village will open Nov. 19-Jan. 2.