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Let the skating party begin

Brittney Naber of ACGC skates her routine during practice for the upcoming "Skating Party." Ninety skaters from seven area school districts, ranging in age from 3 to 18, will be performing. (Tribune photo by Gary Miller)

Winter Games in Vancouver may be winding down, but Diamond Edge Skating Club has brought a piece of the Olympics to the Willmar Civic Center for next weekend's skating show.

Three-time Olympian and eight-time British Champion Steven Cousins will join 90 youth skaters for "Skating Party" at the Willmar Civic Center Feb. 27 and 28.

"Skating Party" features a wide range of local youth skaters representing seven school districts ranging in age from 3 to 18.

Cousins will be joined by U.S. National pairs competitors Olivia Oltmanns and Joshua Santillan. According to a news release from the club, a special comic treat will also be joining them from the St. Cloud Figure Skating Club.

Marilee Dorn, spokesperson for Diamond Edge Figure Skating Club, said both Cousins and the pair skaters will each perform two sets at the performances.

Dorn said professional skaters have been brought in for the annual skating show for the past several years to bring in money for the club's scholarship -- a fund which helps provide families with assistance for the skating program.

"We'll do anything we can to help a family find skates," Dorn said.

This year's production marks the 10th anniversary for the skating club.

A handful of senior-high skaters, including senior Rya Haglund, remember participating in the first show 10 years ago.

Haglund has been with the program nearly 11 years and was 6 or 7 when she skated in her first skating show. The instructors and assistants, advanced skaters themselves who have been club members for many years, teach the young skaters the basic skills of skating. They also choreograph many of the pieces at the show.

Ten years later, Haglund and other seniors help teach and choreograph sets for younger skating levels. Other seniors in the program include Hillary Naber, Tessa Hansen and Brittany Naber.

Tickets for the show are available at Cub Foods and Cash Wise Foods in Willmar or from any Diamond Edge Skater. Show times are at 7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 27, and 1 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 28, at the Willmar Civic Center Arena. General admission seating begins 30 minutes before show time.