The City of Olympia has opportunities galore to keep people active and moving despite the cold weather. Wrapping up its fifth year, Oly on Ice brought together dozens of sponsors and thousands of skaters and visitors. Up next, the Olympia Parks, Arts & Recreation winter 2024 programs keep the community engaged and having fun together. Full of sports, classes and volunteer events, the City not only offers exercise and learning for all ages, but the exhilarating indoor activities also help fend off cabin fever and gear everyone up for spring.

Two men in Olympic Plumbing Technology sweatshirts face the ice rink with a person dressed as bigfoot in a santa hat and coat stands between them and looks back over his own shoulder
Olympic Plumbing Technology mascot Ollie wore a Santa suit to skate the rink at the City of Olympia, seasonal Oly on Ice and handed out candy canes, hot cocoa and Olympia Plumbing merchandise. The Sasquatch visit created a lot of smiles, generated high-fives and made for great selfie opportunities. Photo courtesy: Olympia Parks, Arts & Recreation

Oly on Ice Local Business Partnerships Bring Community Together

Preliminary data indicates a record setting 23,138 skaters and thousands of visitors flocking to the seasonal Oly on Ice skating rink between November 17, 2023 and January 15, 2024. More than a dozen program partners and 40 cash and in-kind sponsors joined the City of Olympia in making Oly on Ice a success. Sponsors helped make the winter skating rink accessible to everyone with the 382 passes that were made available to local nonprofits and social service agencies for redistribution to low-income community members. The City is especially grateful to Premier Sponsors, Small to Tall Pediatric Dentistry and the Squaxin Island Tribe for their significant contributions this season.

Among the local services and businesses partners, Timberland Regional Library (TRL) set up a table with crafts and library information, and Olympic Plumbing Technology employees brought along their sasquatch mascot.

“Since the rink’s first year, we’ve admired its ability to bring families and friends together,” says Kimberly Boeckmann, CEO of Olympic Plumbing Technology. “There aren’t many covered or indoor places in town during the rainy season where folks can hang out and have some fun while getting their bodies moving, so the rink is a winter treasure. We’ve been serving the community since 2007, and as a family-owned business, family values are important to us. It made a lot of sense for us to align with the city on this. We were very proud to support the rink this season and we’ll be back!” 

Wearing a Santa coat and hat, Ollie the Olympic Plumbing sasquatch mascot skated with patrons and accompanied fellow employees in giving away coloring pages and crayons, hot cocoa, candy canes and company merchandise. Olympic Plumbing also promoted its BIG Water Heater Giveaway contest with a free water heater and installation prize. 

The library connected with skaters and visitors about all it offers and handed out fun take-n-make winter craft activities, reminding people that the library is about more than just books.

“It’s a nice place to meet people where they are comfortable,” says Kerry Martin, library manager for Olympia and West Olympia Timberland Regional Libraries. “We chose to return as sponsors because we see value in being part of community events that are open and equally available to everyone. We like to be where fun stuff is happening to remind people that the library is a fun place.”

Take-n-make activity bags such as the light up penguin ornament and the hot cocoa popsicle stick mug, each a brown paper sack of craft supplies and directions, began as a COVID activity when the library shut down.

“The fun thing about outreach is the reactions of people,” says Claire Sandoval-Peck, the Olympia TRL youth services librarian. “The amount of people who say, ‘I love the library’ is great.”

women playing volleyball on an indoor court
Olympia Parks, Arts & Recreation offers winter activities for all ages ranging from fitness, creative arts, dance, volunteer activities and sports like volleyball, which offers varying skill level leagues. Photo courtesy: Olympia Parks, Arts & Recreation

Olympia Parks, Arts & Recreation Winter 2024 Program Offers Sports, Creativity and More

In the Pacific Northwest people enjoy staying active no matter what the weather is doing, and Olympia Parks, Arts & Recreation makes that possible with numerous offerings for all ages in their winter 2024 catalogue.

Adult sport options range from exploration to competition. Open gyms provide a space to explore a sport and to network for organizing leagues including frisbee, pickleball, basketball and volleyball. Back by popular demand, the 4 v 4 volleyball “Fools of Spring” tournament includes different divisions, prizes and championship t-shirts. Players can form their own winter and spring leagues of different skill levels or ask to be included in a grouping of people.

“It helps you connect to other players, and a lot of my really good friends I met through open gyms,” says Cassandra Alarcon who participates in adult women’s and co-ed volleyball leagues. “You start playing against the same people all the time and build relationships there. You usually play two games per night, so you’re usually playing about 90 minutes. It’s a great way to keep moving. It’s a really decent work out. I usually have my Apple watch going, and I can burn about 1,000 calories. If you’re nervous, come to an open gym. There are usually really good groups of people who are understanding and happy to answer questions.”

In addition to sports and fitness, people can join dance classes, learn a language or how to play an instrument, practice improv and take art classes. Sign-up opportunities also include environmental work parties and kayak rescue. Younger and school age children can join spring camps, learn robotics, play chess, explore a media class, and there is also a sensory-friendly dance course.

The City of Olympia makes it easy to stay active throughout winter and early spring with the many programs they offer. For more information, check out the Olympia Parks, Arts & Recreation Winter 2024 Recreation Guide.

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