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Area families welcomed warmer temps and came out by the dozens for the city's annual skate night event at Highlands Park pond. (Bulletin photo by Emily Buss)

Mild temps attract dozens to Cottage Grove ice skate night

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Nothing says winter in Minnesota quite like outdoor ice skating, hot chocolate and a crackling bonfire. 

Highlands Park pond in Cottage Grove was abuzz with activity Friday as dozens of area families welcomed temperatures in the high 20s and participated in the city's 6th annual skate night. 


Decorated with colorful lights, the pond was cleared of snow allowing kids to whizz around on the ice. 

"We don't get out to ice skate a lot but we always come to this event," said Cottage Grove resident Chris Anderson, while his daughter, Maylon, 10, skated laps around the pond. "This break in the cold weather is wonderful and gets us out of the house."

Experienced ice skaters, youth hockey players and those trying their hand at the sport for the first time skated alongside one another. 

Seven-year-old Mason Hartwick, of Cottage Grove, challenged his friends to see who could skate faster with a hockey stick in hand and said he likes to skate fast.

"It's just fun," he said of skating. "Plus I really like hockey."

A bonfire, cookies and hot chocolate added extra warmth to the event.

Parks and Recreation Director Zac Dockter and his family made it out to the event where he said he and his children, Anson, 7, and Belle, 5, would have "no problem having fun."

Emily Buss
Emily Buss joined the South Washington County Bulletin in February 2013. She covers local government in Cottage Grove, St. Paul Park and Newport, along with other general assignment reporting. She holds a bachelor's degree in journalism and mass communications from Minnesota State University, Mankato.
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