Friday, September 14, 2007

Triple Sow Cow No More

The cancellation of Skate on State is not a surprise. I want to see a show of hands of everyone that strapped on skates this past winter….anyone…anyone?
If you think of popular outdoor ice skating rinks you might think of Rockefeller Center and National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden where tourists, downtown dwellers, shopping, and nostalgia all contribute to making ice skating a popular and desirable activity. Since we are a city still in the infancy stage of developing a dense and vibrant downtown core we must be more creative in replicating that energy naturally inherent in these bigger cities. The opportunity to ice skate outdoors is not enough of a draw for people. To make Skate on State a successful event organizers need to develop supporting activities/events/programming that brings people downtown for a multiple number of reasons over a greater length of time.

So what types of programming?? Here are a couple of ideas.

The now cancelled Striezelmarkt, modeled after Dresden’s (Germany) centuries-old outdoor holiday market, used to take place in front of City Hall over ten days. Since retail shopping is so limited in downtown Columbus this event brought shopping opportunities to the people even if for only a limited amount of time. The availability of shopping and food concessions during the day and evening hours would appeal to several different population segments including workers, students, tourists, etc. The market was also a great tribute and promotion of Columbus’s sister city relationship with Dresden.

What about Roller Girls on Ice? These women have a tremendous following (including me) and they pack people in at all of their bouts. While there are no matches in December the league promotes fun promotion and fundraising activities throughout the year. Why not recruit an event with the local Blue Jackets? Dare I mention Disney on Ice promotional event? I abhor anything “on ice” but they frequently come to town so why not do a free show marketing piece with them. Clearly there are liability issues that would need to be worked out but we need to take a greater advantage of already existing resources.

The Pageant of Peace held in Washington, DC across from the White House is an annual holiday tradition that thousands turn out for to watch the lighting of the National Christmas Tree. There is also a menorah and other religious symbols included in the event. Why not create a similar tradition in Columbus?

Drop a few ideas yourself. Dialogue is good.

Skate on State cancellation article.


Walker Evans said...

My wife and I have attended Skate on State last year and the year before. We thought it was a lot of fun.

I think the problem is that this is a temporary fixture that comes and goes within a few weeks.

With the revamp of the City Center, a public space should be built that has a large shallow fountain during the summer than can double as a large skating rink during the winter. I think a more permanent fixture like that would be more likely to help spawn tradition in Columbusites.

wittyknits said...

Roller Girls on ice *is* an interesting idea. That's kind of what we felt like skating on the floor of the expo center until we got our new flooring this summer. :)

We *will* have events in the fall and winter though, just to let you know. We'll be doing our travel team season then, and we'll have home and away bouts. I'm pretty sure December is home. We're waiting on a few last details before we announce dates, so stay tuned...

cmhindependent said...

I would love to see you guys on official ice. I think it could be a combo cheez fest ie Disney on Ice and fun scrimmage. Keep me posted!