Locals put an ice rink on Santa’s wish list and Myrtle Beach delivered
When you think of a white Christmas, Myrtle Beach isn’t the first place that comes to mind. That is about to change thanks to a collaborative effort between the city of Myrtle Beach, Chamber of Commerce and local businesses.
Back in 2018, Mayor Brenda Bethune and Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Karen Riordan talked about making the Grand Strand into a traditional holiday destination, complete with an ice rink.
“We’ve had many requests for ice skating and we are excited to provide an outdoor rink this winter for the whole family to enjoy,” says Bethune.
“We are thrilled to be partners with the city in bringing this dream of being a Christmas holiday destination to life,” adds Riordan.
Now, along with Universal Concepts and numerous sponsors, the Burroughs & Chapin Pavilion Place is being transformed into the anchor Christmas attraction for Grand Strand holiday visitors and locals November 26 through January 2.
Magic Ice USA is handling the operations of the 50 x 70-foot outdoor ice skating rink located next to the beach.
If you were worried about the outside air temperature affecting an outside ice rink, don’t.
According to Magic Ice USA President Byron Sharp, “We have been providing quality ice skating experiences from coast to coast and even in the islands.”
There will be ice skates available to rent onsite, but remember to bring some warm clothing because the temperature on the ice is much colder than on the beach. Keeping in mind that this is new to the beach, there will be seating available to just observe or even reminisce about memories of your youth (if you’re from the North).
Along with the ice rink are a multitude of activities for the entire family located within the festival grounds. Every twist and turn will be illuminated with millions of holiday lights and filled with the music of the holiday season. Stroll down the cascade of lighted displays on Reindeer Lane and make a detour into Santa Land, where you can almost imagine yourself in the North Pole.
Candy Cane Lane offers more to experience and enjoy while the spirit of Christmas comes alive before your eyes. If you are in need of a sugar boost, Haribo will be giving out 50,000 free bags of Christmas gummy bears to celebrate their 100th anniversary.
Attendees may be happy to know that Santee Cooper is providing the energy to power the entire lighting extravaganza, with 100 percent renewable energy from solar, wind and methane, making it a totally green event. All of the displays are also made in the USA.
If you are in need of a break from walking or skating, sit down and enjoy “Sunny and Sandy Save Christmas.” Performed live by the Long Bay Theatre, this off-Broadway musical written by Greg London tells the story of what happens when two of Santa’s North Pole elves get stranded in Myrtle Beach for the holidays. Who else could come to the rescue, except our two locally based elves: Sunny and Sandy? They will have the entire family entertained as they sing, dance and laugh their way to the best Christmas of all!
A short walk across the street is downtown Ocean Boulevard. The Oceanfront Merchants Association has always maintained a festive, holiday spirit in the past, but this year they are coordinating with the Winter Wonderland at the Beach and taking it up a notch. In addition to the holiday lights, decorations and background music, the association will be donating the 70-foot-tall tree for the lighting ceremony to be held December 7.
Plyler Park will have live, holiday-themed music and entertainment on stage, as well as children’s bounce houses throughout the season. A Christmas train will be operating on the boardwalk.
For those that aren’t quite ready to leave Halloween behind, there will also be a Nightmare Haunted House. You’ll wish you’d checked to see whether your name was on the naughty or nice list before you entered Santa’s scary workshop full of angry elves! All the downtown businesses are participating in the festivities, so check them out and join in the fun.
According to the city’s mayor and Chamber of Commerce, this is just the beginning.
They expect to expand the Winter Wonderland at the Beach each year. Adding this affordable, family-friendly festival to the already joyous schedule of Christmas venues in the area will help solidify Myrtle Beach as a Christmas Holiday destination.
The Grand Strand also offers Christmas show favorites, such as The Alabama Theatre, The Carolina Opry and Pirates Voyage.
Then there is The Great Christmas Light Show in North Myrtle Beach, a drive-through event that covers almost two miles with 500 displays of lights and a Santa Village. The cities of Conway and Surfside Beach will also host their own Christmas parades.
And who can leave out Brookgreen Garden’s Nights of a Thousand Candles?
All of which is why the Myrtle Beach Chamber of Commerce has printed a free, 32-page Holiday Guide to the festivities going on in and around the Grand Strand. The guide is available at most grocery stores and wherever local business directories are located.
The Winter Wonderland at the Beach will be open through January 2.
Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and have a safe New Year!
Tips for Ice Skating
Photographs courtesy of Burroughs and Chapin, Magic Ice USA, Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce; courtesy of Broadway at the Beach; courtesy of Universal Concepts; courtesy of Visit Myrtle Beach