The Track Family Fun Parks is giving families the opportunity to start an all new Christmas tradition in Branson with the addition of an outdoor ice skating rink.
This week The Track Family Fun Parks announced its partnership with The Holidays on Ice to install and operate a 7200 square-foot ice rink from mid-November to at least New Year’s Day. The ice rink will be located adjacent to the Branson Ferris Wheel as well as the new United We Stand community Christmas tree display.
The Track Family Fun Parks CEO and Co-Owner Craig Wescott said they’re very excited to welcome The Holidays on Ice and Owner Rich Yakkey to Branson.
“The Holidays on Ice, whose been doing rinks in the holiday season for about six years on the west coast, couldn’t do that this year because of COVID restrictions. In Washington, is where they most recently were. (Yakkey) literally Googled best holiday or Christmas town and Branson, Missouri came up. So that’s how he found us and ended up talking to the CVB, city officials, Branson Landing and I was in that mix a little bit,” said Wescott. “Ultimately it worked out best in the location there right now next to the Ferris Wheel. It’s going to just be a picturesque setting we believe.”
Before construction of the rink begins, Wescott shared that they’ve been working diligently to get the rink location ready.
“We’ve got the site prepped, which was basically making the ground flat. As we know, that doesn’t exist here. So we had to flatten the ground out and pull the right power in, which we thankfully have thanks to the Branson Ferris Wheel,” said Wescott. “It’s been a cooperative effort. The city has assisted us with some fill and barriers. So it’s truly been a community effort, which I love probably that part as much as anything.”
Wescott added that Yakkey and his family should arrive in Branson this weekend to launch construction of the rink. With them, they’ll be bringing at least four trucks with everything that’s needed to construct the attraction.
“They’ll construct the rink over the next week. Then the next week, somewhere around Nov. 8, they’ll start building the ice. That’s quite a process,” Wescott said. “It takes several days and it’s more easy to do in the appropriate weather. So that will be a few day process. It’s a lot of ice to build. It’s the same square footage as the rink at Rockefeller Center in New York City, which I think is a pretty neat fun fact.”
The operating hours of the ice rink will depend on the weather, but Wescott shared that the initial plan is to have the rink open during both the day and night. Nighttime skaters will not only get to enjoy the light show on the Branson Ferris Wheel Wescott said, but the Christmas lights strung around the ice rink itself.
“They just do unlimited skate, unless they’re renting the rink out for a special event or something. It’s unlimited skating,” said Wescott. “As long as you’re there and if you take breaks, fine, but you can skate all day long if you stay there and want to do that.”
Wescott shared that skaters are invited to bring their own skates, but they’ll also have skates available for rent at the rink.
“I think another fun fact is, I believe they’re going to bring about 600 pairs of skates. So they’ll have enough for everybody to enjoy. I think they can hold about 150 skaters at a time and that gives plenty of spacing, especially in this day and age. The fact that it’s outdoors, under the stars and of course the Ferris Wheel and the Christmas tree is nice just because it’s an outdoor setting, but also it can be pretty spaced out as well.”
The Holidays on Ice have committed to keeping the rink open in Branson until New Year’s Day, but Wescott said there could be an opportunity for them to stay longer.
“I think if the business equals the excitement level that I’ve been hearing over the last couple of days, I think it could be a really great thing. They may find that staying open into January is a good thing with schools being out and college kids being out,” Wescott said. “So we’ll have to see. In my initial conversations with Rich, assuming it goes well … we would just work out a deal for the future and they would have every intent of coming back here (next year) and not taking four trucks worth of stuff back out, but storing it here and being ready to come back next year I’m sure bigger and better.”
Wescott shared that Yakkey will also be bringing something with them that seems to excite people just as much, if not more, as the ice rink itself.
“They utilize a full size Zamboni for their rink. It’s the same size and version that gets used at NHL rinks and all of that,” said Wescott. “We’ve already got, graciously, Andy’s Frozen Custard and Pizza World that will be across the parking lot have agreed to co-sponsor the Zamboni. So it should be wrapped up in a nice Branson fashion here in the next couple weeks.”
Those skating at the ice rink will also be able to check out the Branson Ferris Wheel’s Christmas Electrify: A Music and Light Spectacular, which will feature two Christmas light shows that ignite the night with 16,000 LED lights dancing to traditional and rocking Christmas music every hour on the hour after dark.