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  • Writer's pictureJoe Lyons

Get Into the Holiday Spirit with Ashland Kroc Center's Iceless Ice-Skating Festival

ASHLAND, Ohio – From Red Kettles and ringing bells to Angel Trees and an iceless ice rink, The Salvation Army Ray & Joan Kroc Corps Community Center in Ashland is kicking-off all things Christmas on Saturday, November 18.

“It’s an exciting time of year for us, but one that’s incredibly important for us in terms of donations,” says Dan Lawson, PhD, Director of Community Relations and Development. “Last year, The Salvation Army Ray & Joan Kroc Corps Community Center served more than 2,600 social service clients per month, provided 28,080 participants with groceries, and had 356 youth participants in our after-school care and summer day camp programs.”

With inflation and today’s economic climate, the need is especially great during the holidays for so many Ashland County families who are already struggling to make ends meet.

Ashland County residents will see the iconic Red Kettles rollout this weekend at Buehler’s, Miller’s-Hawkins, Walmart and Fin, Feather & Fur Outfitters. But there will also be something new happening at the Kroc Center itself, which will help The Salvation Army Corps continue to serve all in need with love, compassion, and without discrimination, this Christmas and beyond.

Weather permitting, The Center’s Iceless Ice-Skating Festival will officially open to the public on Saturday, November 18 at 1 p.m. in the west parking lot of the Ashland Kroc Center, 527 East Liberty Street, in between the main building and the annex building that houses the food pantry. On Saturday the ice rink will be open until 5 p.m. Thereafter the iceless ice rink will be open Monday through Friday, from 5 to 7 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays from 1 to 5 p.m. through Saturday, December 30, 2023.

Tickets can be purchased onsite and are $12 for individuals who are not members of the Kroc Center. The price includes ice skate rental. As part of their membership benefits, Kroc Center members will receive a discounted rate of $10. Unlike other outdoor ice rinks, the 20’ by 40’ synthetic ice rink does not rely on cold temperatures and snow; however, it will not be able to operate in the rain.

“We are thrilled to bring ice-skating to our community so that families can possibly try something new, have a fun way to be active together, and get into the holiday spirit,” says Major Billy Francis.

The idea for the iceless ice rink came about when Majors Annalise and Billy Francis were looking for a way to incorporate a focus on body, mind and spirit into the holidays, while encouraging family togetherness.

“So many of my favorite holiday memories involved ice skating with family and friends,” says Major Annalise. “With the closest ice rink to Ashland being over 30 minutes away, and others being even further, I was intrigued by the possibility of bringing an iceless ice rink here. Then, when I spoke with Awesome Entertainment & Party Rentals in Columbus and found out that they were willing to collaborate with us as a non-profit organization, I was ecstatic. What a blessing this will be for our community!”

In addition to the support from Awesome Entertainment & Party Rentals, Ashland-based Chandler Systems, Inc. is also supporting the social services at the Kroc Center by serving as a Gold Sponsor of the Ice-Skating Festival.

“We’re so incredibly thankful for the support of Chandler Systems, Awesome Entertainment, and all of the businesses who bigheartedly support us throughout the year,” adds Dr. Lawson. “It’s because of the generous volunteers and donations that we are able to continue to serve all in need with love, compassion, and without discrimination, this Christmas and beyond.”

Volunteer Opportunities

If ice skating is not for you, there are plenty of ways to give your time this holiday season. Red Kettle volunteers are still needed through Dec. 23, as well as volunteers for the “It’s a Wonderful Kroc Christmas” event on Saturday, Dec. 9.

To sign-up as a Bell-Ringer, please select the location of your choice and the corresponding link below:

Fin, Feather & Fur:

To sign-up to help with the “It’s a Wonderful Kroc Christmas” event, please go to:

Holiday Help is Available

If you need services or know someone in need, the Ashlan Kroc Center is offering the following:

  • Thanksgiving Dinner: FREE and open to the Ashland County community on Monday, November 20 from 6 to 6:45 p.m., at the Ashland Kroc Center. RSVPs are requested and can be made at: Space is limited to the first 300.

  • Angel Tree Christmas Assistance Program applications are being accepted through 11:59 p.m. on Monday, November 20. To apply, please go to:

For more information, please follow Ashland Kroc Center on Facebook or @AshlandKroc on Instagram. If you have any questions, feel free to call the Ashland Kroc Center at (419) 281-8001.


About The Salvation Army

The Salvation Army annually helps more than 23 million Americans overcome poverty, addiction, and economic hardships through a range of social services. By providing food for the hungry, emergency relief for disaster survivors, rehabilitation for those suffering from drug and alcohol abuse, and clothing and shelter for people in need, The Salvation Army is doing the most good at 7,600 centers of operation around the country. In the first-ever listing of “America’s Favorite Charities” by The Chronicle of Philanthropy, The Salvation Army ranked as the country’s largest privately funded, direct-service nonprofit. For more information, visit and


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