Freedom Roller Rink hosting dance party for students
April 7, 2017
Slightly hidden on 11th street, a short five minute walk from the Monmouth College campus will get you to the front doors of the Freedom Roller Rink. Although the building doesn’t appear to be a roller rink, once inside, nostalgia fills the air.
The Freedom Roller Rink has been an important venue to the Monmouth community for many years. Making its first appearance in the 1940s, the current building was constructed in 1956.
“We have the oldest skating rink wood floor in the United States,” bragged owners Karen and Tom Sparkman.
The original maple floor is still being used today but eventually will need to be replaced. In order to preserve the novelty and retain the historic value of the floor, the Sparkmans plan to use the remains of the floor to construct the ceiling of the roller rink.
The Sparkmans have been the owners of the Freedom Roller Rink for a just a short couple years, but roller skating enthusiast and Olympic-grade skating coach Karen and her husband Tom have taken exceptional care of the facility. Tom and Karen run the rink two days a week. The Sparkmans have recruited a DJ and occasionally have volunteers, but the business is primarily operated by the Sparkmans themselves.
“We earn little to no personal income from the rink,” said Tom Sparkman. “Most of the money we get goes right back into the rink itself.”
The Sparkmans frequently collaborate with other Monmouth businesses to help expand their name. “The owners at Alfano’s will stay open a couple hours later just for us,” Karen said. “We have a very close relationship with them.”
Beginning late spring/summer 2017, Freedom Roller Rink plans to also offer Laser Tag outside of the normal skating sessions. They are currently in negotiations with Wicked Mic’s Laser Tag. In the future, the Sparkmans plan to expand the rink, which includes adding a spectator area to the lateral side of the rink, where guests can view activities easier. This will also increase the capacity of the rink, which is currently at a 250 person cap.
The Freedom Roller Rink is open two days a week, Fridays and Saturdays, from 7pm to 9:30pm and 7pm to 10pm respectively. The Sparkmans also offer to open the rink on an “as need” basis. Various college groups on campus such as Mu Lambda Rho, Kappa Kappa Gamma, and A.S.A.P. have held late night fundraising events at the rink.
In collaboration with MC Relations, Freedom Roller Rink is hosting their first “College Dance Party” event on April 7. There will be a 5$ cover fee and the event will last from 10:00 P.M. to 12:00 A.M.
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