Armidale freezes over with $147,500 for an ice-skating rink at this year’s Big Chill Festival, with Armidale Regional Council Acting Chief Officer Corporate & Strategy Darren Schaefer, left, Events Co-ordinator Laura Purkiss, Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall, Mayor Sam Coupland and Acting Principal Advisor Tourism and Events Katrina George.
Wednesday, 23 February 2022
ARMIDALE’S hottest event ‘The Big Chill Festival’ will have a new family component in 2022, with Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall today announcing a $147,500 State Government grant to help install a temporary public ice-skating rink at Curtis Park.
Last year, $80,000 from the State Government’s Bushfire Community Resilience and Economic Recovery Fund was provided to promote the inaugural festival, which was a huge success.
Mr Marshall said The Big Chill Festival had successfully transformed Armidale’s bleak winter into an exciting showcase of local food, beverages and entertainment.
“Winter is not merely a season, it’s a celebration,” Mr Marshall said.
“For 16 days in May, the community will have an opportunity to glide across a 25-metre ice-skating rink under the festoon lighting.
“With 3,000 people attending across the two days of the inaugural event, The Big Chill Festival has far reaching economic and social benefit for Armidale’s tourism operators and local businesses.
“With the focus slightly shifting away from the 18+ years age group for one day, more local eateries and creatives can cash in on what I hope will become a permanent fixture on the city’s calendar.”
A family day will also be incorporated into the festival on the Sunday, with snow machines, ferris wheel and music.
Armidale Regional Council Mayor Sam Coupland said the rink would be a great addition and tourist attraction to this year’s Big Chill Festival.
“What screams winter wonderland more than an ice-skating rink?” Cr Coupland said.
“Families will be able to experience the magic of skating on ice without having to leave the region.
“The ice-rink company is a specialised business which will come from out of town, however we will be using local security companies, and all infrastructure for the Big Chill weekend will be hired through local businesses – some in Tamworth and Inverell.
“The Big Chill Festival has the potential to become a key festival for our region.
“We’re certainly heading in the right direction to boosting our local economy and generating more reasons for people to visit Armidale.”
The ice-rink will operate from 6 to 22 May, with sessions daily from 9am to 8pm.