Ice skating for the first time can be a little scary for some people, but not Jill Jaramillo.
The 7-year-old Tacoma girl took to it as soon as she stepped on the ice Friday.
“I’m on the water, and it feels like I’m flying over the water, but I don’t have to swim,” she said, as she started out on her first lap.
She soon was happily racing with her cousins around Franciscan Polar Plaza, the outdoor ice rink that opens annually during the holiday season at Tollefson Plaza in downtown Tacoma.
On Friday, it was full of families testing their balance on the ice as Christmas carols played from loudspeakers overhead.
Jill fell many times, but each time she bounced up and kept going. It wasn’t scary, and it didn’t hurt.
But it was “freezing cold and wet.”
“My leggings are supposed to be gray, but they turned black,” she said.
Her mother, Teresea, was a little worried about the falls but said her daughter is tough.
“She scares me,” she said. “But I’d rather have to say slow down than giddyup.”
Her daughter agreed.
“Going fast makes me feel like I’m on stage, like on ‘Disney On Ice,’” she said.
Jill said she saw the show when she was 6, and her favorite part of her own experience was when she did a twirl like the Disney skaters.
Bronwyn Byrne preferred to get accustomed to the ice a bit before she tried speeding things up.
“The first lap, you hold onto the wall,” the 6-year-old explained. “Then for all the other laps you go in the middle and skate by yourself, or holding someone’s hand.”
Her mother, Holly, said the Tacoma family has come to the rink every year since it opened in 2011.
“We decided this was our new tradition the day after Thanksgiving,” she said.
She said she likes to see many businesses in the area come together to support the ice rink.
“We are thrilled to see this downtown,” she said, “Tacoma needs things like this.”
FRANCISCAN POLAR PLAZA
Location: South 17th Street and Pacific Avenue in Tacoma.
Dates: Open through Jan. 12.
Hours: 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Sundays, 4-9 p.m. Mondays-Thursdays, 4-10 p.m. Fridays, 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturdays.
Holiday hours: 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Dec. 23-28 and Dec. 30, 10 a.m.-12:30 a.m. Dec. 31.
Admission: General admission $8, military members $7, seniors 60 and older $7, Children 5 and under $4
Skate rental: $2 child size 6 to adult size 14 (double blades are available for youths).
Eva Revear: 253-597-8670