Keith Burdette skates with ease — backwards, forwards, sideways, in circles. At the Unified Trust Co. Ice Rink at Triangle Park, that's something of an anomaly.
The skating levels are far from expert, but along with the hot chocolate and Christmas music, the constant spills just add to the atmosphere in downtown Lexington.
Even for experts like Burdette.
"It's awesome," said the Florida native who learned his skills working in the National Hockey League. "I love it, it's just an amazing space, it's great to be able to skate outdoors. It's great for the community."
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That kind of enthusiasm is pretty widespread for the rink's second season, which was at a peak this weekend after Saturday night's lighting of the city Christmas Tree.
That day, close to 800 people showed up, said Dennis Hyde, manager of the Lexington Ice Center, which manages the downtown location. The rink started up last year when the Triangle Foundation revamped the park; the Downtown Lexington Foundation partnered with them to continue the popular opportunity.
"I think it's the atmosphere, it's the prettiest place in town," Hyde said. "It's something unusual, something kind of different to be able to skate outside."
Plus, Hyde said, he thinks people like the low price and simplicity: $10 a person no matter how small, for an hour and a half of skating, which includes skate rentals.
Abraham Bakoush brought two daughters and two of their friends after they got hooked on it last year.
"Now they can really skate," he said. "It's a wonderful addition to downtown. It's awesome for everyone."
Kaitlin Gish, 5, pronounced the ice "slippery," but "I'm really good at it."
Her mother, Ellen Gish, said they would probably return. "It's great having something to do outside in winter," she said.