Curling on the canal sweeps back into Palmyra

The ancient Scots’ game of curling sweeps back into the Port of Palmyra Marina on the historic Erie Canal, Sunday, February 15 from 1-3pm. The Village of Palmyra and the friends of the Rochester Curling Club invite you to join the fun and give the one of the fastest growing winter sports a try. The afternoon includes a demonstration game, instruction for beginners, and fun for all ages. Response to this unique event has been tremendous in recent years, with nearly 500 curious newcomers braving the elements to curl on the Erie Canal. Palmyra Town Clerk and curler Irene Unterborn has been overwhelmed by the response, “It’s been amazing to see so many people come out and curl right here in the heart of Palmyra. We hope everybody who’s tried it comes back out and brings a friend, or five!” So just what is curling, anyway? Curling is a jargon-rich winter sport in which opposing rinks (teams) take turns delivering their rocks (42-pound polished granite stones) down a 144-foot long sheet (ice alley). Points are scored in each end (inning) by placing your rinks’ rocks closer to the button of the house (center of the target) than your opponent’s rocks. Think bocce. Each rink consists of four players: Lead (throws first rocks), Second (second rocks), Vice-Skip (third rocks), and Skip (the captain who throws fourth rocks). While one player delivers a rock, two of his or her teammates follow it with brooms poised, ready to pounce and sweep in front of the rock in order to extend its distance and keep its path straighter. Skips stand at the far end of the sheet reading strategy and calling the shots and sweeping. But be careful not to hog your rock or burn one with your broom, or it will be removed from play! Confused? Well don’t be, the friends of the Rochester Curling Club will be on hand to offer an introduction to, and a vocabulary lesson for, their favorite winter sport. They’ll provide the stones, but please bring your boots or sneakers to wear on the ice – no ice-skates, please. Children and other folks who might be less sure of their footing on ice may wish to wear a bicycle helmet for added safety. Event host Bill Unterborn will once again provide information and commentary during the event so that you’ll understand what’s happening on the ice. “I really love sharing my favorite game with everyone. There really is nothing else like it. It’s competitive. It’s social. And it’s something you can do for many, many years. Just add ice!”Speaking of ice, Curling on the Canal can only take place if the weather permits, which, in this case, means weather cold enough to maintain a sturdy, ice covered marina! Please check the official Town and Village of Palmyra website www.palmyrany.com for weather updates during the week leading up to the event. If necessary, a cancellation notice will be posted there. Sorry, no rain or thaw date. About CurlingCurling is enjoyed around the world, wherever winter sports are played. Scotland is recognized as the spiritual home of curling, having originated there as early the 16th century. In fact, a curling stone was found near the city of Stirling engraved with the year 1511. Like many of the Highland Games, curling is a test of skill and stamina, performed with natural materials at hand. The game we know today developed chiefly in North America, especially in Canada where curling is a national obsession. Curling in Canada is as popular a participation sport as bowling is in the United States. You can learn more about this event and other local curling opportunities, including adult leagues and junior programming by visiting the Rochester Curling Club website: http://www.rochestercurling.com.

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