Mishawaka pulls out all the stops to kick off its Winterfest

Ice skating is now open at Mishawaka's Ironworks Ice Rink.
Published: Dec. 4, 2022 at 12:16 AM EST
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MISHAWAKA, Ind. (WNDU) - It was a cold weekend in the Princess City, but that didn’t stop thousands of people from showing up to enjoy Mishawaka Parks’ annual Winterfest.

“Tonight is the grand opening of our Ironworks Ice Rink, the Winterfest, the big kickoff, the lighting of the Christmas Tree, our first ever lighted parade,” Mishawaka Parks Superintendent Phil Blasko said. “It’s going amazing, and we just love this new event that we have, this new venue we have.”

The 19-million-dollar price tag to revamp downtown Mishawaka is no small amount, but city officials say what residents get in return is priceless.

“Quality of life, you can’t put a dollar tag on that,” Blasko added. “I mean, what has happened in downtown Mishawaka, and the momentum that’s happening and all the new development that’s happening around this amazing ice rink and the continual development of downtown; we’re excited about that.”

This new event location and ice rink replace Merrifield Park as the premier Mishawaka winter destination.

“We felt like this was the place to bring it, right in the heart of the city,” Mishawaka Mayor Dave Wood said. “It’s a 20-million-dollar investment, but this is going to be a 60-year-plus building, and so, this will serve for a very long time, and as popular as this is with the public here today, we think it is a great investment.”

And the community is buzzing about it.

“We love the holiday and all the stuff that the city has to do, especially October, that was really fun, and so we’re excited for what is to come,” Mishawaka Resident Nicole Wegner said. “She (her daughter) is excited about ice skating, so that’s really great and fun.”

While this facility is currently winterized, the city plans to utilize this space all year round.

“Right now, it’s being used as an ice rink,” Mayor Wood noted. “In the summer, we’re going to host art festivals, farmer’s markets, and all kinds of great events here. So, this will be a year-round amenity, and it will be a popular place, we think, not just for Mishawaka, but even beyond our borders and throughout the region.”

Blasko wants to thank his staff for their tireless work and the community for supporting the parks department and its many projects.

“It was very stressful to get this thing to the point where we are right now, so I credit all my staff for working hard and tirelessly in order for us to make this happen for tonight,” Blasko concluded. “And I just want to thank all the community for coming out. I mean, there were a few thousand people here tonight that have enjoyed this new space.”

If you want to ice skate at the new Ironworks Ice Rink, there are hour-and-a-half time slots, but you will need to sign up in advance. There are also ice bumper cars, ice bikes, and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer-themed skating aids available to rent.