Skatefest is kicking off its 42nd anniversary at the Savannah Civic Center this year.

The fun begins at 4 p.m. Dec. 12 and ends at 10 p.m. Jan. 3.

"It's something everyone in Savannah expects," said Mary Bickerton, event planner for the civic center. "It happens every year during the Christmas holidays. It's something for the kids to do who are on their Christmas break with their families."

Bickerton, who is working her second year at Skatefest, said the civic center will be adding hanging lights and other decorations over the ice to provide a more holiday-themed ambience.

"The hanging lights are something we added last year and we got a really positive response," Bickerton said.

A wide variety of music will also be playing to keep skaters of all ages and skill levels in a fun, rhythmic atmosphere.

With each ice skating session timed at 90 minutes, the family-friendly event provides skate rentals and concession stand food for sale.

"Our concession stand has popcorn, sodas, hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken fingers, candy and more available," Bickerton said.

Repicci's of Savannah will be selling various flavors of Italian ice and gelato, as well. The event is alcohol-free.

Though the turnout seems to stay about the same every year, Bickerton recommends coming early to ensure a spot in the correct time slot.

"Come early so you can get in on the session time that you want," Bickerton said. "And dress warm."

As the skates run out, employees monitor the rink and prevent more people from getting on the ice until the next session. Too many people on the ice at once can be hazardous. Skaters should be able to enter and exit the rink as needed.

For skaters who want to take a break during their session, tables are set up in front of the concession stands. Chairs are also available behind the glass where children and friends who don't want to skate can sit and watch for free.

"Coming to the Skatefest is unique to Savannah and it's being a part of Savannah's traditions by coming to try it out," Bickerton said. "We try every year to make it better. It's like our baby that we have for the community, so we are excited and look forward to it every year."

Skate sessions run every day from Dec. 12 to Jan. 3, except for Christmas Day, when the civic center is closed. Times vary depending on the day of the week. CLICK HERE to see time slots.