Nestled between the 55 freeway and a self-storage business in Orange is a building with colored lights that spell out “Holiday Skate Center.”
The parking lot is mostly empty. Only a few people are milling about near the entrance of the building, which is set back from the street.
But taking a step inside is like taking a trip into the past.
The roller skating palace, which opened in 1972, is one of the few rinks left in Orange County.
The rink has its regulars, like Jon Adams, 46, who skated at the rink when he was a teenager and said that except for the new carpeting, the rink looks exactly like it did when he was young.
Adams likes the exercise he gets from skating, but is mostly excited to spend time with his daughter, Jasmine. He uses skating is an incentive – if she has a good week at school, she gets to spend a few hours at the rink on Thursday evenings.
As skaters circle the track, they are immersed in flashing, colored lights, the sparkle of a disco ball and blaring music.
There’s staffer Anthony Jones, who hangs out here when he’s not working. He made his own skates by bolting a skating frame with wood wheels to his Converse shoes.
“It’s not very practical; it’s just for fun,” he said.
Cameron Guyot, who hasn’t been to the rink in more than 10 years, said he and his brother used to skate when they were younger. They decided on a whim to go skating and both agreed that the rink hasn’t changed.
Andre Birgen skates at Holiday three times a week.
When asked, “Why roller skating?” his voice rises and he exclaims, “I go to work and it’s like a beating everyday. It’s the one thing that just makes everything OK.”