High temperatures force closure of Winterfest for 3rd day in a row

TULSA - The unseasonably warm weather is giving Tulsa's Winterfest a beating. The ice rink is closed for the third day in a row.

Record warm temperatures Saturday and Sunday forced organizers to close the rink all weekend.

Festival organizers evaluate the condition of the ice every day. They say it needs to be in the fifties or below for the coils under the rink to refreeze the ice.
Even at night, it hasn't been cold enough to freeze the ice rink over. And no ice skaters means some businesses are taking a hit.

"I can't believe it's the second week in December, and we should've brought our swimsuits I'm thinking," said J.T. Polston.

Several thousand people usually stop by the festival each day. Luckily it's fully paid for by sponsorships.

"With the festival being open for 45 days this season, a few days won't hurt us a lot in the long run," said Jill Duvall, special events manager at the BOK Center.

"Of course you want to see your festival open every day, and with any outdoor event, that's just the chance that you take whenever you open to the public."

But the melting ice has frozen business for some.

Coney Island on 4th Street is just a few blocks away from Winterfest. The hot weiner shop usually sees 30 to 40 extra people a night during the festival.

"Yeah, I can tell the difference in the evening. We still have people coming down that don't realize there's no ice," said assistant manager Joe Bear.  

Bear says colder weather would be better for business.

"I've been down there and seen the pond that's there now. They should be fishing instead," he said.   

Temperatures Monday reached nearly 80 degrees, threatening Tulsa's all-time monthly high record. But a cold front is moving into the area Monday evening, which should bring cooler temperatures .

According to Winterfest's website , organizers will continue to monitor conditions and will post updates there and on Facebook .

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