(Editor’s Note: This story is a preview of the show’s segment. To view the clip that aired, please click here.)
For nearly seven decades, “The Today Show” has brought viewers from across the country to countless spots throughout the world with its storytelling and news coverage.
But this weekend the show will hit a little closer to home.
A crew from the Chicago NBC affiliate filmed a segment at Glencoe’s Watts Center on Thursday, Jan. 14, highlighting the rising interest in outdoor ice rinks over the past few months.
The segment will not only highlight outdoor community rinks, like the Watts Center, but also the homemade, DIY variety that homeowners build in their yards.
Highland Park resident and NBC correspondent Kevin Tibbles filmed the segment.
Erin Classen, Glencoe Park District superintendent of marketing and communications, said that Tibbles frequents the ice rink with his family to skate.
“(Skating rinks) are popular across the country, but (they’re) definitely also popular in Glencoe,” Classen said.
Classen added that the Park District’s season pass sales for its outdoor rink were up by 687 percent this year. Visitors to the ice rink need to have both a season pass and reserve a time slot to have an opportunity to skate.
But interested skaters who aren’t already in possession of a season pass might be out of luck.
“Our classes all have a waitlist, and we did sell out (of season passes) pretty quickly,” Classen said, adding that they also have a waitlist for season passes, but the season is ending in about six weeks.
The Watts Ice Center features two lighted outdoor rinks and is located in Glencoe’s Watts Park. The rink opened on Nov. 27 and will close Feb. 28 this season.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the rink is operating at a limited capacity, only allowing 25 percent capacity or groups of 10 or fewer. In previous years, the Park District sold daily passes for the rink for those who did not want to commit to a season pass, but this year only season pass holders are allowed to use the rink. All visitors must also wear a mask while at the facility.
Even though it’s not at its most accessible right now because of restrictions, Classen is excited that thanks to “The Today Show” viewers from around the country can enjoy the rink in some capacity.
“We’ve always known that Watts is a Glencoe treasure, and we’re happy to share it with the rest of the country,” Classen said.
Erin is a freelance journalist based in the Chicago area. She most recently served as the editor of The Highland Park Landmark. Her work has also been featured in Chowhound, Choose Chicago, Eat This Not That, MSN and the Lake County News Sun.