Meridian Township’s Parks and Recreation department expanded this winter its schedule of Family Winter Sports Weekends. What once was a program held in one weekend spans multiple weekends.
“When we first started out 18 years ago, we try to do just one big weekend,” said Mike Devlin, one of Meridian Township Parks and Recreation team specialists, “Now, every weekend we have something going on.”
Families—free of charge—can take advantage of Michigan’s snow storms with programs like sledding in the dark during the Moonlight Sledding event and the Harris Nature Center’s Winter Wonderland.
Indoors, residents enjoyed a free skate session as part of the Meridian Skates event at the Suburban Ice rink at 2810 Hannah Blvd. in East Lansing. Normally, it costs $10 or less to skate.
“I’m surprised today’s free,” said Yuqing Lie, a beginning figure skater who was practicing at the event.“It’s a very good benefit for (the) township residents.”
“Sometimes they decide ‘don’t worry about it,’” said Devlin about the lack of the normal $2 skate-rental fee. “A nice bonus.”
Over 50 people took to the ice Sunday night.
More experienced skaters weaved in and out of the crowds at incredible speeds, while many newcomers clung to the sides of the rink as the music from the local 97.5 radio station carried over the confines of Rink 1. Grace Hunt, a freshman from Michigan State University, was helping her friend skate along, stopping to let her rest as she skated in small circles as she waited.
“I’m here with a student group from Michigan State called Bridges International,” said Hunt.
Bridges International is a non-profit student organization at Michigan State University that helps acclimate international students to their new homes.
“The movement is going with the flow with your core and your balance,” said Lie. “With every move, you find your balance.”
The next Family Winter Sports Weekend event is the Youth Ice Fishing Derby on Feb. 16 from 9 a.m. to noon. Ice fishing equipment and bait will be provided, and a fishing license is not required. Participants 16 and under are eligible to win prizes.