Words & Photos: The Cottonwood Cutups live at Franciscan Polar Plaza ice rink

By Ron Swarner on November 24, 2014

Remember the ice skating scene in A Charlie Brown Christmas? The whole Peanuts gang glides over the ice of a small pond as jazz pianist Vince Guaraldi sets the tone. Like Charlie Brown's fictional hometown, Tacoma boasts a great place to skate right in the heart of downtown. The Franciscan Polar Plaza ice rink at Tollefson Plaza hosts hours of public skating sessions across the street from the Tacoma Art Museum. While you won't catch many snowflakes while skating at Polar Plaza, you'll get the benefits of a nicely maintained ice surface while still enjoying the fresh outdoor air - something even Snoopy would appreciate.

To accompany the new "Art of the American West" exhibit in the new Haub Family Collection wing at TAM, the Weekly Volcano presents live bluegrass, country and old-timey bands every Saturday night at the ice rink. The Cottonwood Cutups kicked off the music series Saturday, performing a mix of country, old-time, ragtime, punk, bluegrass, rock and jazz while skaters fell on their asses. It was a hoot.

If your memories of skating date back to the original airing of A Charlie Brown Christmas, make this holiday season your year to get out on the ice again. Strap on those sturdy rental skates and step gingerly onto the ice. Feel the live music and the burn in your thighs as you circle the rink. Just ignore those creaky knees for now and let yourself be a kid again.

Southern rock band SweetKiss Momma is up at the ice rink next, performing from 7-9 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 29. In the meantime, enjoy a few photos from the past Saturday's down home holiday hoedown.


The backstory and band schedule for the Weekly Volcano's Rhythm & Ice music series at the Franciscan Polar Plaza ice rink