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The Lights begins monthlong process to secure ice for upcoming hockey, skating

West Fargo's event center was visited more than 56,000 times in two years

PlazaIce1.jpg
Ice is forming at the Essentia Health Plaza at West Fargo's The Lights on Sheyenne. Special to the Pioneer.
Special to the Pioneer
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WEST FARGO — It may still be a month away but the process of adding ice to the Essentia Health Plaza at The Lights is underway, and soon, the cool place to meet up on West Fargo's south side will be ready to host skating.

West Fargo Events Executive Director Mike Amundson said the ice installation has been coming along as the boards are up, bases and anchors are in place and the manifold is connected.

Soon, thousands of gallons of glycol will be pumped into the area, which will help keep the ice cool, followed by a tiller system and finally, weather dependent, water will be pumped in, ready to freeze over.

"From there, we play the weather game a little bit, we'll pump water overnight to use the cold temps to help it along, and then during the day, we take a break and then repeat again the following night," Amundson said.

Enough water will be pumped into the open air rink to create five inches of ice, which will remain throughout the winter and be ready in time to host a packed calendar of events.

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Specialized equipment is used by West Fargo Events to install ice at the Essentia Health Plaza at West Fargo's The Lights. Special to the Pioneer.
Special to the Pioneer.

"Weather does affect the building process. We can maintain the ice when we have 50 or 60 degrees, but when we are making ice, the weather does play a role depending on how cold it gets," Amundson said.

He and West Fargo Events staff are shooting for a 2022-2023 opening on the first weekend of December.

"If we can be open earlier, we will," he said.

After the opening will be a Dec. 3 figure skating show followed by a number of corporate events and "Skate with Santa," a joint event to be held Dec. 18 with West Fargo Park District.

PlazaIce3.jpg
Ice is forming at the Essentia Health Plaza at West Fargo's The Lights on Sheyenne. Special to the Pioneer.
Special to the Pioneer.

But the real draw for those out of town will be the last part of December when the rink and West Fargo Events hosts the West Fargo Winter Classic, a hockey tournament hosted by West Fargo high schools and youth teams from five states, Dec. 27 to Jan. 1.

Amundson said he hopes the rink can remain open through late spring for open skating.

"We will almost assuredly be open through February, and we will try to be open though March if we can," he said. "If we're in the 40s and 50s in March, it's still very manageable.
Even if it's 50 or 60, the top of the ice will melt and it will look like a lake during the day, but at night it will be frozen again."

More than 56,000 skaters have visited The Lights ice rink since it opened. Amundson said the community response to West Fargo's latest attraction has been terrific.

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Instead of celebrating small business Saturday, throughout the month of November, West Fargo events will offer punch passes of skate rental for the plaza that include eight punches for $25. Regular priced punch cards allow six punches for $25.

Punch cards can be picked up from the community room at The Lights from any West Fargo staff. Punch cards are valid through the season.

PlazaIce2.jpg
The ice is being formed over a number of weeks at West Fargo's Essentia Health Plaza at the Lights. Special to the Pioneer.
Special to the Pioneer.
PlazaIce4.jpg
Ice is forming at the Essentia Health Plaza at West Fargo's The Lights on Sheyenne. Special to the Pioneer.
Special to the Pioneer.
PlazaIce1.jpg
Ice is forming at the Essentia Health Plaza at West Fargo's The Lights on Sheyenne. Special to the Pioneer.
Special to the Pioneer.
READ MORE FROM WEST FARGO EDITOR WENDY REUER
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Readers can reach West Fargo editor Wendy Reuer at wreuer@forumcomm.com or 701-241-5530 . Follow her on Twitter @ForumWendy .

Related Topics: WEST FARGOHOCKEYRECREATION
As the West Fargo editor, Wendy Reuer covers all things West Fargo for The Forum and oversees the production of the weekly Pioneer.
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