Two years ago, the folks of Christmas Island Style (CIS) made it snow on Marco Island. This year, they are going to create a winter wonderland in Veterans Memorial Park complete with an ice skating rink and their own version of the Polar Express.
The event will be held on Sun., Dec. 14, 1-7 PM. According to Barbara Murphy, the CIS member who is coordinating it, the day will be filled with ice skating, train rides on the Polar Express, a bounce house and a giant mountain for kids to slide down. Members of the city of Marco Island Parks and Recreation Department will man two tents of crafts, games and face painting.
Joe Granda and Marco Island Fire-Rescue Department Chief Mike Murphy will be conductors on the Polar Express, a circus-style train being donated by William Christ with Trains of America. The Optimist Club will be serving food and light refreshments to help raise money for its local sports programs, while Island Montessori School also will be selling snow cones as a fund raiser.
The rink will be set up Sunday morning, courtesy of the Marco Island Sport Fishing Club and other volunteers under the direction of CIS board member and fishing club member Ed Adams. BellaICE from the West Palm Beach will bring a 60 x 25 foot synthetic ice rink that will perform the same as ice. Included in this are the 70 pairs of skates, both figure and hockey ice skates for all ages. Helmets also will be available, as well as skate bars. The rink will accommodate 20 to 25 skaters at a time depending on the ages.
City Recreation Manager Mindy Gordon and Teen Center Recreation Leader Lola Dial approached Christmas Island Style Chairman Steve Stefanidis last year with the idea for the skating rink. CIS researched ice skating rink providers last spring and chose BellaICE.
Still, the ice skating rink comes with a hefty price tag — $6,000 — so Stefanides began to hunt for the necessary funding. In a conversation with Erik Condee, operation officer of Condee Cooling & Electric Inc., the subject of one of his new vendors, Daikin Heating and Cooling, wanting to become involved within the community came up, and the discussions escalated from there.
“Daikin is the number one manufacturer of heating and cooling equipment in the world. They came to us to take over the distribution and sales here in Collier County, and we jumped at the opportunity to partner with them. They loved the idea of the ice rink and agreed to meet with Steve and me to work out the details,” said Condee.
The ice skating is free of charge, but participants must bring their own socks to wear with the skates. All skaters will need to sign a release before skating, and those under the age of 18 will need a parent or guardian to sign for them.
For more information on Christmas Island Style and its events, visit www.christmasislandstyle.com or call Stefanides at 239- 250-8348.