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Classic Fun Center in Orem celebrates 45 years in business

By Genelle Pugmire - | Mar 3, 2023

Courtesy Classic Fun Center

Classic Fun Center celebrates 45 years in Orem on Friday, March 3, 2023.

Friday is a celebration for Classic Fun Center in Orem. The long-standing skating rink is enjoying it’s 45th birthday with a number of events, some for families and others for adults only.

In the early evening will be a kids birthday party serving up free cupcakes, games, face painting, a prize hunt and princess impersonators along with special games for skaters.

In the late evening, it is all about the adults as local vendors and artisans set up shop and the activities centered around on skating.

The beginnings of the fun center go back 95 years ago when Verne McCullough, a Salt Lake City lawyer, opened a wrestling business. By 1958 it had turned into the Ritz Classic Bowling and became a Salt Lake landmark.

After a fire destroyed the bowling alley, they used the floor and turned it into a skating rink.

Courtesy Classic Fun Center

Classic Fun Center just after opening on Friday, March 3, 2023, the venue's 45th birthday.

When McCullough died, the business was handed down the family tree. While others in the family opened more locations, the Orem one opened independently. The current owner is Joe Henderson, a great-grandson of Verne.

Since then, other locations have been added including Ogden, Sandy, Bountiful, Layton, Bear Lake and even Tennessee.

In 1978 it was mostly known as Classic Skating but by 2011 the location added an arcade, games and inflatables. During 2020 and COVID-19, the fun center added the Ritz Suites — an homage to the 1970s — with an eating area that serves a variety of sweet treats. “It’s so cute,” said Michelle Gutierrez, fun center employee.

On an average day you may find up to 150 patrons, but on Throwback Thursday it’s up to 400 guests. On Themed day Friday, or the original and ever-popular Disco Saturday, you could see up to 300 or more skaters, most of whom are college students looking for nighttime fun.

“Disco is our brand and we will always keep it,” Gutierrez said. “We have our regulars that come.”

Courtesy Classic Fun Center

The Ritz Suite at Classic Fun Center.

No one could be more regular than the store’s favorite skater — Tim.

“Tim is in our Ritz Hall of Fame,” Gutierrez said. “He hands us a $5 bill and we let him skate.”

Tim always wears a white polo shirt and khaki pants, and he has skated with classic since long before it was in Orem.

“Tim is 80 years old and loves disco night,” Gutierrez added.

Local skating fan Peter Miller is another pseudo-celebrity at the fun center. He set a record for the number of spins on roller skates, at least 78 spins, according to Gutierrez.

“He was our cash guy,” she said. “We’d give him several dollar bills and he would talk to skaters and hand out the free bills. We need to start that again.”

Classic Fun Center is almost hidden, but passionate skaters always end up behind the Pep Boys on State Street.

The Fun Center provides an area for birthday parties and, according to Gutierrez, they have had up to 45 in one day. Regular skates, inline blade skates and scooters are available to rent.

Prices also vary depending on experience. To just skate costs $13 while renting a skate is another $3. Skates range in size from a child’s 8 to an adult 16. There is no time limit unless the venue has been rented for a special occasion.

Classic Fun Center is open Monday through Wednesday from noon until 9 p.m.; Thursday through Saturday from noon to midnight (9 p.m. to midnight is for adult skating); and closed on Sunday.


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