THE GREAT SKATE WINTERFEST RETURNS THIS WEEKEND!
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – One of West Michigan’s most beloved festivals returns this weekend when the 2023 Great Skate Winterfest
runs for 34 consecutive hours on Saturday, Jan. 21 and Sunday, Jan. 22 at Rosa Parks Circle in downtown Grand Rapids.
The Grand Rapids Griffins invite everyone to join this celebration of winter in our city and help the Griffins Youth Foundation provide opportunities for more than 400 deserving boys and girls – many of whom are underprivileged, underserved, at-risk or have special needs – to participate in the great sport of hockey at no cost.
The fun begins at noon on Saturday with the 12th annual Winterfest, a day full of family activities and winter sports demonstrations, and concludes with the 18th annual Great Skate, a 24-hour skating marathon with Griffins players and coaches that runs from 10 p.m. on Saturday until 10 p.m. on Sunday. Admission to the Great Skate Winterfest is free, although donations are encouraged and nominal skating fees ($4 adults, $2 kids) apply.
Highlights of the Winterfest include public ice skating; on-ice demonstrations/performances by the Grand Rapids Curling Club, Grand Rapids Sled Wings sled hockey team, Greater Grand Rapids Figure Skating Club, Lake Effect Flurries synchronized skating team, and West Michigan Speedskating Club; a heated family activity tent featuring the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum, Grand Rapids Art Museum, Grand Rapids Children’s Museum, Grand Rapids Public Museum, and Safe Kids Greater Grand Rapids; horse-drawn carriage rides by Classic Carriage (10-minute ride/$5 per person); and caricaturist David Wodarek (minimum $5 donation). All events are subject to change and times vary. Please visit griffinshockey.com/greatskate for complete details.
The Great Skate will commence at 10 p.m. Saturday, after the Griffins’ home game against the Springfield Thunderbirds has wrapped up a few blocks away at Van Andel Arena. Griff and Finn, the team’s mascots, will take the event’s opening shift, and every Griffins player and coach will follow for an hour each, skating with fans, Griffins Youth Foundation players, local college and high school hockey teams, and media personalities around the clock until 10 p.m. on Sunday. The lineup of Griffins skaters can be found at griffinshockey.com/greatskate.
Through that web site, fans can help raise money for the Griffins Youth Foundation by sponsoring their favorite Griffin and participating in an online silent auction that features an array of unique items from national and regional sports teams along with local entertainment venues, cultural institutions, hotels, breweries, restaurants, merchants and more.
The Great Skate Winterfest is presented by the Griffins, the Daniel and Pamella DeVos Foundation, and Meijer, with support from Acrisure, Bron Machine, Centennial Securities, Connoisseur Design, FASTSIGNS, Perani’s, Smallegan Real Estate with Keller Williams, and University of Michigan Health-West.
Established in 1995, the Griffins Youth Foundation promotes academic excellence, community involvement and healthy lifestyles among the youth of West Michigan, enhancing their lives through hockey and ice-related sports. The foundation’s programs currently include co-ed hockey for first through 12th graders, a girls-only division, a learn-to-skate program, and the Grand Rapids Sled Wings sled hockey team for children and teens with physical disabilities.
For more information about the foundation, visit griffinskids.org.