Three decades ago, the large building set back from the road at 481 Enfield Street was the unofficial entertainment hub of Enfield. Hundreds of teens would make their way to Enfield Roller World, lace up their skates and circle in countless ovals to the tune of "Physical" and "Celebration."
After the roller rink closed in the late 1980s, the building housed a Serv-U store, and later a car dealership, but neither venture lasted long at that location. The building has been vacant for the better part of the last half-decade.
That has all changed, and entertainment is back at the site, in the form of Whirlyball, "the world's only mechanized team sport."
Whirlyball combines the best elements of basketball, lacrosse and bumper cars. Two teams of five players armed with scoops aim to send a ball into a goal 10 feet above the playing surface.
Let Patch save you time. Get great local stories like this delivered right to your inbox or smartphone every day with our free newsletter. Simple, fast sign-up here.
There are only 18 Whirlyball centers in the United States. The Enfield location opened in July, after more than 20 years on Route 5 in South Windsor.
"We see more opportunity in Enfield," owner Mike Lenares said during a recent tour of the facility.
The site provides more than just Whirlyball. There are pool tables, foosball, ping pong tables, air hockey and some video games. "We hope to eventually expand to include laser tag and an indoor go-kart track," associate Michael Zuraw said.
Renovation to the building is ongoing, but the business is fully operational. Weekly Whirlyball leagues are forming, and small groups are invited to stop in for a free 15-minute party.
In celebration of the new location, the owners are hosting an open house on Sunday, Sept. 2 from noon to 8 p.m. They will offer free Whirlyball, and will serve food throughout the day.
As the center grows, management plans to host special events such as beer pong, ping pong tournaments and pool tournaments. The business plans to apply for a liquor permit, and eventually wants to have bands and entertainers as part of the overall family fun.
For the moment, the center is open by appointment. Reservations can be made by calling 860-265-2800. More information can be obtained by visiting www.ctwhirlyball.com.