Augusta Common has been transformed into a winter wonderland.
The normally open, grassy area typically used for festivals, fireworks and other fun, was landscaped with Christmas decorations and included an ice slide and ice rink for the opening day Friday of Augusta on Ice.
Even though temperatures are forecast to creep into the 60s and possibly 70s over the next week, the Common will remain on ice until Jan. 6 with the help of the antifreeze propylene glycol, according to the Augusta on Ice website. Operating hours vary. Visit AugustaOnIce.com for an events calendar.
Visitors were dazzled Friday.
“It’s amazing,” Karen Luther said. “I came down here for the first time Monday and I came back Tuesday and the difference was incredible. They must have worked 24 hours.”
Event creator Chris Boerner has been working for nearly a year to see the project through. After previously planning the event for Evans Towne Center Park, she was able to secure the coveted spot in downtown Augusta, pleasing visitors.
“I love that they moved it from Evans because I wouldn’t have even gone,” Richmond County resident Rachel Cagle said.
Cagle was first in line when Augusta on Ice opened at 4 p.m. She purchased season tickets, already knowing her family will return.
“It’s something I think my kids will love, and it really brings a festive spirit and that’s why I want to come back,” she said.
Cagle expects changes over the next 50 days Augusta On Ice is open. Boerner said she and workers and volunteers will continue to make the event better “every step of the way.”
But on opening night, she had only one objective.
“I want to see a lot of smiles and people having a great time,” she said. “That’s my number one goal for the day.”
Boerner helped to generate that spirit as she greeted patrons into the winter wonderland.
“It is unreal. I seriously cannot believe it’s come to life as magically as it has,” she said. “It’s what was in my head but even more.”