Large crowd attends Rollerama opening
HOULTON, Maine — A sizable crowd packed into the Maliseet Rollerama on Friday evening for the grand reopening of the facility.
The roller skating rink, which is located at 494 North St., has been revamped by the Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians to cater to both young and old. The tribe purchased 71 brand new pairs of skates for use by the public, which include the traditional and in-line designs.
Representatives from the tribe, the skating rink and the Greater Houlton Chamber of Commerce were on hand for a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Friday evening, and the facility was open for skating on both Saturday and Sunday afternoons.
Clarissa Sabattis, chief of the Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians, said that she was thrilled with the turnout over the weekend.
“We are so excited to be able to open up again,” she said. “We recognize the need for youth and family activities in our area and hope that we can revive this pastime.”
The Rollerama, which first opened in 1994, was originally owned by Brian Doody and Lisa LaPointe. It was the area’s first facility designed exclusively for roller skating. Construction on the rink included the installation of 1-inch thick, 4-by-8-foot special particle board panels that made up the skate floor. The panels weighed more than 100 pounds each. The rink was open for public skating and birthday parties, and also featured a small gaming and concession area.
Both features are still a part of the rink. The gaming area includes pinball machines and an air hockey table.
Josh Franklin of Presque Isle was in Houlton visiting friends on Friday evening when he heard about the grand opening.
“All of my friends were going so my girlfriend and I decided to join them,” he said. “This is actually the first time I have ever been in here. It is nice.”
Kasie Hughes, an 11-year-old Houlton resident, agreed.
“I like it,” she said. “I’ve only been roller-skating outside on my driveway, and that is hard because there are too many rocks. It is better here.”
Sabattis said that she talked to a number of parents who brought their children to the event because they used to skate at the Rollerama when they were younger. She credited Chris Phillips, the tribe’s economic development director, and Laura Harding, the manager of the Rollerama, with making the grand opening a success.
The facility also will be available for birthday parties.
The Rollerama will be open 7-9 p.m. on Friday; 1-4 and 7-9 p.m. on Saturday; and 1-4 p.m. on Sunday.