Downtown hopes ice rink draws crowds


The ice rink in the Fulton Mall at the Mariposa Plaza opened Monday for its second year after 30,000 people visited last year. Photo Melinda Ortiz

Ice-skating returned to Downtown Fresno Monday with the opening of the ice rink that drew 30,000 people last year to the Fulton Mall at Mariposa Plaza.

The ice rink provides an opportunity for people to experience an activity that is not common in the Valley.  For some people, though, it’s also an opportunity to help Downtown draw crowds.

Rink manager Ney Vann, a Fresno State business major and Fresno native, said the opportunity to help revitalize the area drew her to the job.

“People think it’s a scary place, but it’s not,” Vann said. “It’s a fun place to spend your holiday.  It’s fun family time.”

Downtown ambassador Matthew Patnaude, who worked at the ice rink last year, said a survey of visitors last year—the first time it was open—showed that people who were coming had not been to Downtown in a long time, if ever.

“A lot more people are aware of it this year,” Patnaude said. “People are excited about it.  I hear, ‘I can’t wait for it to come back.’  It was busy after the Veterans Day parade.  It has more decorations and more polish.”

Part of the plan, he said, is for people to skate and then shop.  He said the rink does a promotion where if you bring a store receipt you get a dollar off admittance.

Patnaude said visitors get a wristband so that they can come back all day to the rink.  He said all-day parking is also validated for any garage in Downtown.

“It’s not about making money on the skating rink,” Patnaude said.  “Even if we break even, it’s a success.  It’s about bringing new people here.”

The money from the rink, he said, goes back to the Downtown Fresno Partnership, which is a nonprofit.  Patnaude said all the events, like the ice rink, pay for themselves, not by property owners.

The rink opens daily at 11 a.m.  It closes at 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and at 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Monday through Friday the prices are $10 for adults and $8 for children, which is anyone under 12 years old.

Saturday and Sunday, the prices are $12 for adults and $10 for children.

To buy a season pass for a family of two adults and up to four children is $99. Additional children can be added to the pass for $20 each.

A season pass for adults is $49 and $39 for children.