Ice rink has cold farewell evening

With a little help from his sister Angelina, Captain Drake takes a spin around the Plaza Ice Palace on Monday night, the last night of the rink for the season.

MICHAEL C. WEIMAR/The Gainesville Sun
Published: Tuesday, January 18, 2005 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, January 18, 2005 at 12:15 a.m.
As other skaters twirled and whizzed by him, Joey McGinn struggled.
He struggled, scooted, slipped and slid on the ice, but with the support of his dad and a friend, he managed to make it around the rink a few times Monday at the Plaza Ice Palace in Gainesville.
Breathless, the red-headed boy took a break on the side of the rink, his cheeks flushed pink from the cold, gripping the rink wall as if his life depended on it.
"This is fun," Joey, 8, said to his mom Le Jones who sat on the sidelines watching her son in amusement. "But I can't stay up - I keep falling."
"No, it's OK," Jones told him. "You're gliding."
And despite the trips and tumbles, nothing - not even the nose-nipping cold - could take the smile off Joey's face as he and more than 100 area residents skated at the Downtown Community Plaza for the last time before the rink was closed Monday night.
Jones said the chilly temperatures were a fitting end for the wintry fun at the temporary ice rink, which opened for business this season on Nov. 13.
"It's a great idea," Jones said of the rink.
Dozens of parents watched their kids glide around the ice rink.
Couples held each other close, holding hands as they basked in the delightful chill of fun on ice. In the center of the rink, sisters Michelle Orris and Melissa Ortega skillfully twirled in dizzying, graceful circles, catching the eyes of several onlookers.
"Wow, look at her spin," a young girl said to her mo.
The sisters, both UF students, said they wanted to enjoy the last day of the ice rink with their friends.
"I've been skating since I was 9," Orris, 27, said. "It's my second time here and I think it's a fantastic idea. It's great for the community to be able to come out and do something involving winter."

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