Dozens of media members, event sponsors, local officials and their families got a taste of “Augusta on Ice” on Thursday ahead of its grand opening Friday downtown.
“I think it’s outstanding what they’ve done. It’s very cool,” said Chad Porch, whose wife works for one of the event’s sponsors.
Porch heated a marshmallow at a s’mores stand while son Andrew, 7, begged to get to the rink for a first ice-skating experience.
Ice skating, an ice slide, train rides, a performance stage, lights, decorations and more entertained the crowd at the start of what will be a 50-day transformation of Augusta Common on Broad Street into a winter wonderland.
The Augusta Commission snagged the event on Oct. 3 while organizers Mike and Chris Boerner remained in negotiations with Columbia County to have it there. Chris Boerner called Augusta on Ice “a true partnership” with the city as a primary sponsor that is “working wonderfully for the region.”
Davidson Fine Arts Magnet School junior Alex Johnson arrived in skating gear for a special performance she was giving on the ice rink.
Johnson trains in Columbia, S.C., after a west Augusta rink closed and was thrilled to have the ice in downtown Augusta for the next 50 days.
“I love to skate and I’m super glad that people are able to experience what I love to do,” Johnson said.
Sedric Craig, benefits and education service representative for event partner Augusta Warrior Project watched Brittany and the Southside Boys perform on the stage Thursday.
Augusta Warrior Project is promoting the event to Augusta veterans and active duty service members, Craig said. Saturday is military day at the event.
“We’re pushing that our veterans come out and enjoy this event,” he said. “Anything to bring the community together.”
Reach Susan McCord at (706) 823-3215 or firstname.lastname@example.org.