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The Journal Gazette

  • Samuel Hoffman | The Journal Gazette Chips fly as Robert Elkins carves a penguin from a block of ice at the Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory on Saturday.

Saturday, January 28, 2017 10:02 pm

Ice skaters highlight Winterval

Rosa Salter Rodriguez | The Journal Gazette

Delaney Reilley glides across the rink at Headwaters Park, her lavender-blue skating skirt fluttering from her speed on the ice and the sequins on her outfit giving off an occasional flash.

At the rink’s far end, she pops two toe-loop jumps, and then at center ice, executes a graceful layback spin.

As she leaves the ice, she gets a round of appreciative applause from her audience of other skaters and compliments from Geoff Paddock, the park’s executive director.

"That was perfect!" he tells the 15-year-old Homestead High School student.

Reilley’s figure-staking performance was one of four to grace the downtown rink Saturday during Winterval, an event designed to get area residents out for some fun.

With the weather shifting gears from spring-like to seasonal – as if on cue – festival attendees bundled up against a brisk wind and the very occasional snowflake to come downtown.

There, attendees found skating at Headwaters, ice carving demonstrations, a cold weather rugby tournament at Lawton Park and a pre-Revolutionary War muster at the Old Fort.

Those seeking warmer climes could find refuge at a Youtheatre presentation at the Community Center on Main Street, exhibits at Science Central or a "Mary Poppins"-themed exhibit under glass at the Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory.

The figure skating provided "a nice interlude" for other skaters, Paddock said. About 80 were on the ice by early afternoon.

"They can pause and watch and maybe get a little inspired," he said.

Reilley said her performance also raised awareness of the Fort Wayne Ice Skating Club, which is based at the SportONE/Parkview Icehouse and provided all three of the day’s figure skaters.

The club has about 100 members, and some are competing at the national and international levels, said Reilley’s mother, Kimberly Reilley, 45, of Fort Wayne.

Delaney, who said her best trick on the ice is a double-flip jump, has competed in Indianapolis, Detroit and Traverse City, Michigan, in the open juvenile division, but she’s looking forward to entering senior skating soon, and likes to perform, her mother said.

Asked how she got into skating, Delaney said she got fascinated by a Disney movie about a shy young girl who overcame her brainy awkwardness through skating.

"One day, I was watching ‘Ice Princess,’ and I just decided that’s what I wanted to do," she said. "I just started and never stopped skating."