Faux ice skating rink added to holiday activities this year
By Ashley Dunn
WESLEY CHAPEL — The Shops at Wiregrass is turning its holiday light display into an annual tradition.
The mall opened just before Christmas last year, and hosted the Symphony in Lights during the holidays. On Nov. 21, this glowing show set to the music of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra will return to Wiregrass’ Center Court. The presentation runs every hour on the hour from 6 to 9 p.m. through Dec. 31.
“It should be fun,” said Chad Doritan, the mall’s marketing director.
Symphony in Lights combines 250,000 LED lights, 1,000 watts of sound, and 10 tons of holiday décor. The lights on giant Christmas trees artfully shine to the music of the TSO via computer programming.
The show was created in Mason, Ohio, when holiday light hobbyist Carson Williams built a light show on his home, set to the music of the TSO. It made its way across the United States via the Internet. It appeared on YouTube and various TV shows. Eventually, it drew the attention of developer Forest City, owner and manager of The Shops at Wiregrass and other centers across the country.
Forest City partnered with Carson and brought in professional designer John Carter from Parker 3-D.com to create commercial-sized, choreographed lighting exhibits set to the music of TSO.
To celebrate the kickoff of this year’s Symphony, The Shops at Wiregrass is hosting the Alan Darcy Group, a band that will perform top 40 hits, jazz and holiday music throughout the night. Darcy, a saxophonist and singer, performed during the mall’s Spring Concert Series as a solo artist earlier this year, Doritan said.
The kickoff event will also feature lighted stilt walkers, magicians, a talking tree, Dickens carolers and more.
“We have even invited a true northerner as our special guest — really, really North,” Doritan said.
Last year’s kickoff drew between 20 and 30,000 people, and more than 33,000 cars came through the mall that day.
“We’re expecting the same this year,” Doritan said.
As the Symphony continues through the holidays, the mall will feature free community entertainment, such as high school bands, dance groups and other music groups.
A new attraction at the mall this holiday season is an ice skating rink, which is made from synthetic ice. It opened last week in front of Cantina Laredo. Special skates are required for this type of ice and can be rented for $8 Monday through Friday and $10 on Saturday and Sunday. The rink is open Mondays through Fridays from noon to 9 p.m.; Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; and Sundays from noon to 6 p.m. Hours will be extended as the holidays draw closer.
If you go
What: Symphony in Lights
Where: The Shops at Wiregrass, 28211 Paseo Drive, Wesley Chapel
When: The Symphony takes place every hour on the hour from 6 to 9 p.m. through Dec. 31. The first lighting will happen at 6 p.m. on Nov. 21. The Alan Darcy Group will begin performing earlier that evening.
Note: An ice skating rink has been added to the holiday festivities this year.
More information: www.theshopsatwiregrass.com
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