Market Square Rink Sparks Downtown Business

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Knoxville (WVLT) -- The spirit of the season often translates into cash and credit card transactions.

For proof, look no further than the mad dashes at malls for Black Friday.

But downtown Knoxville has its own stake to claim and for the third year in a row, some rink-side fun could turn the red into black.

On Saturday morning, people flocked to Market Square to help start the holiday season on steady ground.

For both families and businesses were present and even though holiday shoppers have crowded the malls, the last two days have seen plenty of ice skating traffic through the historical square.

"We had almost 900 skaters last night and almost a thousand spectators,” said Kristi Reynolds of Center City events, “so for opening day that was real exciting."

Almost 40,000 have laced up pairs of skates since the Holidays on Ice skating rink’s inception a few years ago, but while the event’s goal is not to turn a profit, its organizers say it would be nice to cover costs.

"For last two years unfortunately, this event did not even break even,” said Reynolds. “This was kind of our make or break year."

The outdoor venue still draws crowds of both local and outsiders and for most its price is just right.

"You can stay all day if you wanted to,” said ice skater Lola Alapo. “I doubt a lot of people do that, but you could definitely do that for five bucks."

"It's a great deal and it’s cheap,” said ice skater Cynthia Carpenter. “You can skate all day till 10:00 at night."

And all of those people are bound to spill over into vendors like Earth to Old City which sits just feet away.

"We love to see the ice skating rink come because it brings a lot of families down,” said Paula McAnally, from Earth to Old City. “It brings down a lot of people in general."

The 15 year old business set up shop on Market Square about two and a half years ago.

They're happy to be caught up in the mix of different businesses with only one drawback.

"Last night was the start of the festival which was fabulous,” said McAnally. “Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining, but people couldn't move in the shop it was so crowded."

Holiday's On Ice runs until January 1st.

As for Earth to Old City, the income surge might make up as much as 20 percent of their yearly sales.

For more information on the event, simply click on the Hot Key.

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