A synthetic ice rink was set up in front of the Turner House Gallery on Deal Road in Ocean
Township Sun., Dec. 4 as part of the township’s holiday festival.
By WILLIAM CLARK
The Ocean Township Community Celebrations and Department of Recreation celebrated the holiday season this year by staging the “It’s a Wonderful Life” holiday festival.
The festival took place on the grounds of the Historical Museum Sun., Dec. 4 and included refreshments, ice skating, fireworks and a visit from Santa in addition to the Christmas tree lighting.
The new attraction this year was synthetic ice. Participants signed up in advance for 30 minute slots on the artificial rink laid out in the parking lot in front of the Turner House Gallery.
“There’s 35 people for every half an hour from two o’ clock to six o’ clock,” Community Celebrations Coordinator Jennifer Nordstrom said. “And we have people who are already asking, ‘Can we get on a wait list?’”
The reservation list filled up in an hour and 20 minutes, Nordstrom said.
Township Recreation Director Mike Butrico said when they were trying to figure out what to add this year, the thought of having a real ice rink set up for the season was considered.
“It was too short notice,” he said. “But we still wanted to bring the skating element to the Christmas Tree lighting.”
Jessie Napoliello of Wanamassa watched as her husband Alex helped their daughter with her first experience on skates. She said the ice skating was a highlight of the event this year.
Napoliello said that her family gets to many of the events that the recreation department puts on.
“There’s something all the time,” she said, saying that they attended the Fall Fest at Joe Palaia Park at the end of September.
Student volunteers from the high school National Honor Society and Key Club helped pass out popcorn and other refreshments and the Ocean Township Chamber of Commerce served hot chocolate and cookies.
After a steady rain came through the day before, Nordstrom was thankful for the temperate weather.
“I don’t know who was up there in the sky who helped me out but someone is,” she said.
As the sun set and the temperatures dropped, several fire pits were set up for those looking to warm themselves.
One change based on last year was bringing in a small carousel.
“We had live horses (last year) but one got away,” Butrico said. “This year we had more stationary horses.”
“This was by far the greatest tree lighting ceremony held in the Township of Ocean thanks to Jen Nordstrom and Mike Butrico,” Mayor John Napolitani said. “My hat goes off to them for organizing such a wonderful event capped off by a phenomenal fireworks display by Jack Serpico.”