SAN FRANCISCO—Skies were gray for the first time all week on the opening of the Union Square Holiday Ice Rink on Wednesday.
“Bringing an ice rink to Union Square is a sizable undertaking,” said Willy Bietak, producer of the rink. Bietak grew up in Vienna, Austria, with an ice rink right across from his school. “I remember so much looking forward each day to go skating in the afternoon. And that memory is still with me and very vivid each year we come to install this rink here.”
“It is the perfect day for the opening of an ice rink,” said Karin Flood, executive director of the Union Square Business Improvement District. “Any warmer and that ice might melt, and you know we don’t get snow here in San Francisco.” The Union Square BID has been an advocate for bringing the rink back after it was put on hiatus.
The park was renovated ten years ago, with an international design competition and survey of what the public wanted to see in Union Square.
“The two top things that people remembered were the Holiday Ice Rink and, of course, the Macy’s Holiday Tree,” Flood said. The giant tree was in the process of being put up during the ceremony, and the lighting of the tree will happen the day after Thanksgiving.
Buyi Zama, the vocalist portraying Rafiki in The Lion King sang at the opening while The San Francisco Tremors Ensemble from the Yerba Buena Ice Skating Center tested the ice with a performance before the rink was officially opened.
The rink will be open through Jan. 21, from 10 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. It will close two hours early on Dec. 31 and will be closed for several special events during the season.
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