ROUSES POINT - The North Country Skating Club has been around forever - well, at least for the last 30 years.
And, just as long as the club has been in existence, its members have been putting on ice skating shows to entertain and captivate audiences year after year.
This year will be no exception, said club president Maria Boyer. The club's more than 80 members have been busy in recent weeks preparing for the annual North Country Skating Club Ice Show, to be held Saturday, March 14, and Sunday, March 15.
"This year, in honor of our 30th anniversary, we had the kids look at the past songs we've done throughout the years, and we will use some of them for their performances," said Boyer. "It's going to be very special."
The show will feature 13 group performances, consisting of six features, Boyer said. In addition, nine members will perform solos.
In addition to the recognition of the club's 30th show, the event will be dedicated to the Samuel de Champlain Quadricentennial, which recognizes Champlain's exploration of North America in the early 1600s.
"We're calling it 'A Skate through History,'" said Boyer.
The show has the club's members, who range in age from toddlers to high school seniors, thoroughly excited.
Seven-year-old Meara McManus of Rouses Point, who is in her third year of being part of the club, said she looks forward to the show. The event will showcase what she loves about the club's take on ice skating - that it's a sport meant to be enjoyed, not a competition.
"It's very fun. It's not really a competitive sport, it's really a group thing," she said. "My mom said I could try it to see if I liked it and I did. I've learned a lot of things."
Eight-year-old Elabeth Roberts of Champlain, who has been skating for the past two years, said she likes the fact the show recognizes all the club members, regardless of how they perform.
"You get to do a lot of cool stuff and you get trophies," she said with a big smile. "I've learned to do spirals, lunges, hops and all sorts of things. [The club] is really fun and you get to meet a lot of nice people and make new friends."
While there is a focus on the noncompetitive side of the sport, 13-year-old Cayley Boire of Plattsburgh said the club still prepares members for the chance to compete professionally if they choose to one day.
"I'd like them to know how far they can go with it," Boire said of her advice to younger members. "I've been skating for nine years all because my parents decided to let me skate. I've been skating ever since and I'm in competitions from time to time."
"I just enjoy being on the ice," Boire added. "And, I don't mind the cold."
The annual North Country Skating Club Ice Show will be held next Saturday at the Rouses Point Civic Center, 39 Lake St., with a pre-show performance at 6:30 p.m. The show will begin at 7 p.m. On Sunday, the event will begin with the pre-show at 1:30 p.m. and continue with the show at 2 p.m. The feature performances last about two hours each, said Boyer.
The cost of general admission is $6, with senior citizens and children ages 12 and younger admitted for $4. The snack bar will be open both nights, offering refreshments.