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SUBMITTED by Bill & Irene Unterborn, Liberty House Bed & Breakfast (29-Jan-2011)

The ancient Scots game of curling sweeps back into the Port of Palmyra Marina on the historic Erie Canal, Saturday, February 26, 2011, from 4-7pm. The Village of Palmyra and the friends of the Rochester Curling Club invite you to join the fun and give the hottest new Olympic Winter Games sport a try. The evening 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 people braving the elements to curl on the Erie Canal last February. Palmyra 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!”

Curling on the Canal typically plays out on sunny Sunday afternoons, but organizers believe a sunset event will offer an even more interesting and rewarding experience for participants. Event host, Bill Unterborn, explains, “Sunny afternoons and hundreds of feet often lead to a premature deterioration in the quality of the ice. The later timing of this year’s curling should help preserve the playing surface.”

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 eachend (inning) by placing your rinks’ rocks closer to the button of the house(center of the target) than your opponent’s rocks.

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 straighten its path. The Skips stand at the far end of the sheet reading strategy and calling their rink’s shots. 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.

Curlers and spectators can take a break from the icy action and warm up with hot beverages, soups, chili, and sandwiches while overlooking the winter fun.

This event will only take place weather permitting, which, in this case, means weather cold enough for an ice covered marina! Sorry, no rain or thaw date. A follow-up press release, approximately 10 days prior, will confirm or cancel the event depending upon the weather.

About Curling

Curling 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.

Keep an eye on Palmyra (www.palmyrany.com) throughout 2011 for more exciting events linked to the Erie Canal and our unique and historic village.

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