GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The Grand Rapids Griffins will be on the ice for 24 hours straight this weekend to raise money to help kids play hockey.
The Great Skate at the Rosa Park Circle Ice Rink downtown begins at 10 p.m. Saturday and runs until 10 p.m. Sunday.
“There’s going to be a Griffins player or coach out there, skating with fans. Even if it’s 3, 4, 5 o’clock in the morning, might be 20 degrees outside, they’re going to be down there and Griffins fans are going to be down there,” Griffins spokesman Randy Cleves said.
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Photo gallery of the Griffins Great Skate:
The Winterfest includes additional events earlier in the day on Saturday, like a heated activity tent from noon to 4 p.m.
“All the local museums are in there providing activity for kids,” Cleves explained.
There will be winter sports demonstrations at the top of each hour from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday.
“Everything from sled hocking, speedskating, curling, synchronized skating, a lot of different sports that people can get a taste of,” Cleves said.
You can get into the Winterfest for free, though a donation is encouraged. You will have to pay fees to get on the ice — $4 for adults and $2 for kids — and some events, including horse-drawn carriage rides, cost money. There’s also an online silent auction that’s already active.
“We have 120 different items that are up for bid this year. Some great things: a tower tour of the Mackinac Bridge, things signed by the Detroit Lions, the Detroit Red Wings, all kinds of experiences, and packages from local restaurants, breweries,” Cleves listed.
The Great Skate Winterfest benefits the Griffins Youth Foundation, which allows some 400 kids who otherwise wouldn’t be able — like those who are from low-income households, are at-risk or have special needs — play hockey for free. This is the first year the Great Skate has happened since the start of the pandemic.
“This is the second-biggest fundraiser for our Griffins Youth Foundation,” Cleves said. “For me, the most wonderful time of the year isn’t Christmas, it’s getting ready for this and putting on a great event.”
The Griffins play the Springfield Thunderbirds at 7 p.m. Saturday at Van Andel Arena. They’ll head over to Rosa Parks Circle after the game.