Skating on the Square

Downtown ice skating rink returns to Spartanburg for the ninth year in a row


Photo courtesy R. Regnier

Citizens get a first-look at the newly established ice rink in Downtown Spartanburg.

Riley Regnier, Social Media Coordinator

Living in Spartanburg, citizens rarely have the experience of a snow day. Even when the occasional snowfall happens, it is short lived.  In Nov. 2011, the city of Spartanburg decided to add an ice-skating rink to bring winter activities to the warm southern air.  

Formally called “Skating on the Square,” the oval shaped ice-skating rink brings in hundreds of skaters, amateur and advanced, each year. To skate, it costs $10 per person, which includes the rental fee for ice skates. Customers can skate for as long as they want and may even exit the ice and return later that day with the stamp they receive after their purchase.  

During the pandemic, Downtown Spartanburg has added safety guidelines for the customers, including mask requirements, sanitizing stations (for skates and their users), temperature checks, regular disinfecting sprays and social distancing. Fewer skaters will be allowed on the ice at a time, and if the waiting line gets long, skaters will be rotated out every 30 minutes.  

Citizens of all ages come to the ice-skating rink. Customers who are not able to support themselves on skates have the option of skating with a walker for assistance, and children under the age of eight must have a person over the age of 16 skating with them. People can also choose to watch from the outside of the rink instead of braving the ice. The glass fencing that encloses the rink allows for others to see the activity on the ice. 

Briannah Ellis (10) experienced her first year visiting “Skating on the Square” and has already visited twice since they opened on Nov. 20. She enjoyed seeing her friends and learning to navigate the ice together.

“Skating on the Square” is known for being accessible and easy for first time. The rink being on the smaller side and the guardrails surrounding it allow for beginners to hold on and skate slowly. More advanced skaters are encouraged to make use of the space in the middle, allowing for more space on the sides to be available for the beginners.  

George Proctor (9) makes trips to the skating rink yearly with his friends.  

“A mask was needed to go on the skating rink, unlike the past years. I enjoy that the ice rink is in a central place that is close to other activities,” Proctor said.  

“Skating on the Square” is in the middle of Downtown Spartanburg, allowing easy access to nearby restaurants and shops. Concessions are sold from vendors close to the ticket booth, and they have accessible bathrooms down the street.  

The opening of the skating rink also brings job opportunities to young adults and teens in the area. “Skating on the Square” hires local high school teens, and the organizers look for people who have a strong work ethic and are comfortable on skates. Working here, employees disinfect the skates and frequently-touched surfaces. During the pandemic, employees are in charge of making sure masks are worn and social distancing is enforced. They also manage the ice, making sure safety guidelines are being followed and preventing reckless behavior.  

The ice rink’s hours vary on special holidays, and it is closed during rain or other inclement weather. Regular hours are from 4-8 pm on weekdays and 11 am-10 pm on weekends. The ice rink will close down and leave Spartanburg Jan. 18, 2021, and will not return until Nov. 21, 2021.