By Lauren Sage Reinlie
In Florida, temperatures rarely dip enough to qualify as wintery weather. The Village of Baytowne Wharf is giving people a chance to get into that blustery holiday spirit anyway with an ice skating show—on real ice.
All winter, Baytowne has an ice skating rink that is open to the public. On Dec. 13, two internationally renowned figure skaters will perform there for Baytowne’s fourth annual Ice Skating Extravaganza.
“It really gets you into the spirit to get to watch an ice skating performance in Florida. It’s not something you usually see in this area,” says Leighann Elliott, events manager for Baytowne Wharf. “It’s a lot of fun for the whole family and really a treat for people who miss the cold weather.”
This year, Olympic winner Dylan David Moscovitch and professional figure skater Kristin Cowan will perform two shows, at 6 and 7:30 PM. Before and in between performances, spectators can lace up their own skates and join the pros on the ice.
In the 2014 winter Olympics, Moscovitch won a silver medal as part of Canada’s figure skating team. He has now retired from competitive skating but continues to skate professionally.
Cowan has entertained crowds of all ages all over the world. She has been a part of Holidays on Ice and Disney on Ice, where she played Ariel from Disney’s The Little Mermaid.
“We are really excited to have them out here,” Elliott says. “It’s going to be a great show.”
Not only does the presence of ice provide an opportunity to feel the wintery vibe, but Baytowne itself really comes alive during the holidays.
“Out here in Baytowne, all the restaurants and shops are all decorated for Christmas,” Elliott says. “We have a big Christmas tree. You can get in the spirit just walking around, but then we have an ice skating rink and a light show as well.”
The light show, which is coordinated to holiday music, runs every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday at 6, 7 and 8 PM. through Dec. 21. During the Ice Skating Extravaganza, the show will be held before, in the middle and after the performances.
The Ice Skating Extravaganza is a free event. To join the pros on ice, spectators can pay the regular rate of $11 for an hour on the rink. Skate rental is $3. The rink will be open through Feb. 1, 2020.
Learn more at BaytowneWharf.com.
A HOLLY JOLLY TUBA CHRISTMAS
The following night, Dec. 14, Baytowne Wharf hosts its annual Tuba Christmas. About 150 tuba players of all ages will perform holiday classics.
For this unique event, the tuba players practice the music in advance but come together to play for the first time at the event. Anyone with a tuba is invited to join in the fun.
Tuba Christmas will be held from 5 to 7 PM in the Events Plaza. Admission is free.
Lauren Sage Reinlie is a freelance journalist living in Freeport. She has written and edited for newspapers and magazines for over 10 years. Her writing has received several statewide honors, including for her work covering the U.S. military and military life in Northwest Florida. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.