Alumni skate their way to a good time


Kim Carlton, a Kent State alumna, teaches her 4-year-old son Alex how to ice skate during Flash Ice Fest at the Ice Arena on Saturday. The free event featured ice skating, face painting and balloon animals. Kent State alumni were invited to bring friends and family to the event.. Photo by Anthony Vence

Mike Crissman

The Kent State Alumni Association’s Flash Ice Fest ‘11 skated by this weekend. About 145 alumni and their families gathered at the Kent State Ice Arena from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday for an evening of ice skating, pizza, face painting and balloon animals.

Kathy Reid, 1969 graduate and education major, said her grandchildren who are 4 and 5 years old thoroughly enjoyed the event.

“The face paint was pretty important to them,” Reid said. “One had a beautiful butterfly and the other had a rainbow. They got a balloon then went skating. I think this event’s great because you have families spending time together having a really good time.”

The sold-out event was the first of its kind for the Kent State Alumni Association in recent years. Associate Director of Alumni Relations Nancy Schiappa said she and others in charge of the fest had received extremely positive feedback throughout the night.

“People have told me the event’s been fun,” Shiappa said. “They had a good time, especially the kids. They went through the balloon line. They’re having a ball. I think as long as the kids are enjoying themselves, the parents usually think it’s a good idea.”

Timmy Muir (a.k.a. “Timmy Twister” ), 2009 alumnus, put his balloon-tying talents to use for the children in attendance.

“I do hats, flowers, swords, bracelets, black squirrels and animals,” Muir said. “Anything but whales, I don’t do them.”

The former Golden Flash began teaching himself balloon art in the eighth grade, at first making simple designs for his friends. As his talent developed, he said he eventually started working at restaurants and parties.

“[When] I was homecoming king in 2008 I got to know a lot of people from the Alumni Association,” Muir, electronic media production grad, said. “Nancy knew that I do this a lot and asked me if I could come in tonight.”

Sophomores Lindsey Nelson and Ashley Whittlesey, student ambassadors who said they often help out at alumni events, were in charge of face painting.

“We’re definitely amateur face painters,” Nelson, middle childhood education major, said. “It’s been fun to laugh at each others’ designs.”

The two said they painted a lot of hockey pucks, butterflies and “K”s.

Schiappa said she hopes to put together another Flash Ice Fest in the future.

“My goal is to do it again,” Schiappa said. “I think it’s gone over pretty well.”

Four-year-old Elena Dunaway, daughter of 2002 alumna Dawn Dunaway, was perhaps the biggest, most resilient fan of all.

When asked what her favorite part of the event was, young Elena responded, “Skating, but I fall down.”

Contact Mike Crissman at [email protected].