Despite overcast skies and drizzling rain, skaters were out enjoying the ice rink at Lock 3 in downtown Akron on Friday during this weekend’s Winter Fest holiday festivities.

Holiday music played over speakers as children of all ages skated jovially. Some gripped their parents’ hands while others slipped on the rain-soaked ice, quickly pulling themselves up with a laugh and continuing to skate.

“Keep going!” said Jon Kase encouragingly to his son and daughter as they laughed and skated around the rink.

“We were thinking the parade would be today, but we still wanted to do something Christmas-y, so we decided to come here,” said Kase of Wadsworth. “We come here about two times a year, and it’s something the kids really enjoy.”

The city’s annual Welcome Santa Parade takes place Saturday morning in downtown Akron.

Lock 3 kicked off its Christmas celebration Friday with the annual tree-lighting ceremony at 7 p.m., where the official city of Akron tree, already decked with garland and topped with a star, was lit in a half-hour program.

Lock 3 supervisor Chris Griffith was expecting 5,000 to 7,000 people for Friday’s tree-lighting ceremony.

“We usually get about 7,000 people on a nice day,” he said.

The ceremony was hosted by WONE (97.5-FM) morning man Jeff Kinzbach and featured former The Voice contestant Jacob Rummell, a Lake High School graduate.

Fireworks followed the tree-lighting ceremony. Traditionally, people remain after the celebration to continue ice skating.

“We’re down here all the time,” said Rita Kalla of Akron. “Our favorite part is the tree lighting.”

Lock 3 has additional family-friendly activities, including a nine-hole indoor putt-putt course and the 150-foot-tall Reindeer Run slope for sledding.

There are new features at the venue this season, including Zippy’s Little Roo Rink, an ice skating rink designed for children 14 and under learning how to skate.

In addition, the Akron Children’s Museum has a pop-up location on site where children and their families can interact with exhibits that inspire the imagination.

Each activity costs $3, or people may purchase an unlimited all-day pass for $10.

“The kids were really excited to come here,” said Cindy Price of Akron. “My daughter will be dancing in the parade so we’ll be back [Saturday].”

For more information and dates on all events, visit lock3live.com.

Theresa Cottom can be reached at 330-996-3216 or tcottom@thebeaconjournal.com.