Tahlequah reports fewer ice skaters at Snowflake Festival, blames weather

TAHLEQUAH, Okla. - Unseasonably warm weather is to blame for a significant drop in the number of visitors to new the ice rink at Tahlequah's now over Snowflake Festival, according to city officials.

After buying an ice rink double the size of one rented for the festival the year before, Tahlequah officials reported only half the number last years patrons appeared on the ice this year.

"I attribute that to the weather," Tahlequah Mayor Jason Nichols told 2NEWS, saying periods of rain and the 75 degree plus temperatures cost the rink's opening season – the end of November through New Year's Day – nearly a week's woth of operation.

"We are already looking forward to setting up next November," Nichols told 2NEWS though the city plans to set up the rink for the festival next year, saying officials heard nothing but positives about the new rink.

The city bought the new 62-foot by 120-foot collapsible rink last year after a rink half its size rented last year proved very popular and drew an estimated 6,000 patrons, their only suggestion being to make it a little bigger.

The rink was purchased for $130,000, mostly paid for by private donations and with another $117,000 the city contributed for the rink's setup and operation.

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