It’s been well over two decades since this region’s top figure skating competition was held in Palmerston.
That drought ends in January, when the Palmerston Skating Club hosts the Weskate Competition, January 28, 29 and 30, 2011. Between 400 and 500 skaters from Drayton, Palmerston, Harriston, Clifford, Mount Forest, Arthur, Durham, Mildmay, Kincardine, Ripley and other communities are expected to participate in the event at the Palmerston Community Centre. Skaters will compete in a wide range of events, including freeskate solo programs, singles and pairs dance, family dance, team and single elements, showcase and synchro performances as well as a segment dedicated to Special Olympics.
While the event is a competition, with gold, silver and bronze medals handed out to the top three performers in each event, the focus is on participation and family fun, says Danielle Schill of the Palmerston Skating Club.
“There’s a ribbon for everyone. It doesn’t matter where you place, the kids are here to have fun and it’s all about physical fitness,” she notes.
The competition is open to any skaters who have completed the Canskate Level 2 program, with events tailored to every skill level.
“It’s also about families being here and having fun together,” explains Schill.
The weekend will have a Red Carpet theme, with the auditorium set up as a mini-movie theatre to provide entertainment for skaters and families between competitions. Full meals will also be available during the event, which will utilize all the facilities at the Palmerston Community Centre.
Landing Weskate, the western section competition for Skate Canada’s Central Ontario division, is the result of a competitive bidding process. Schill notes Palmerston’s is the only rink in the Town of Minto with a large enough ice surface to host the event, in addition to having adequate seating capacity and supplemental facilities. The local club learned it had been awarded the competition in April of 2009.
“It’s a huge commitment and we really hope the community is going to support it,” says Schill, noting that everyone is welcome to come out and take in some first-rate figure skating action throughout the weekend.
Organizational work is well underway for what is a massive volunteer undertaking. With just 40 skaters and their families, the Palmerston club would welcome volunteers from all sectors of the community to participate in staging this large-scale event.
“We’re a small club, but we’re a mighty club,” she states.
Anyone wishing to help out may contact Danielle Schill at 519 343-4036 or Shannon South at 519 343-4899.