At the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre, crews were creating a 40-foot-by-60-foot ice rink for “The Holiday Ice Spectacular.” The first performance is at 8 p.m. Thursday, and the show will run through Dec. 24.
But first, a two-tier ice stage must to be set, a task that takes 24 hours.
The ice prep got started about 6 p.m. Sunday — later than planned, ironically, due to weather delaying transport of the equipment, which was coming from Minnesota. The first job is laying tubing and mats to keep the ice rink cool on the center’s stage.
The mats and tubing were then connected to a refrigerator-like generator to cool them down. The chiller was set to about 19 degrees, and as soon as a layer of frost appeared on the mats, crews began laying about 10,000 pounds of crushed ice across the stage. A thin layer of water was sprayed onto the ice cubes, and from then on layer upon layer of water was added, until the rink was about three inches thick.
Jeb Rand, a Marietta native and former pairs figure skater who is producing the show, explained the process as crew members walked in spikes across the ice, spraying more water. The next layer is sprayed when the previous one freezes.
A wooden ramp built above the ice rink will receive a layer of Viking Ice or glice, a synthetic ice surface that will allow skaters to skate up and around, and give the stage two tiers.
Rand, a skater since age 8, has produced shows around the world. He is using real ice for this show because skaters and audiences prefer it, he said. Once the ice has been frozen for 24 hours, skaters can try it out.
“We’ve been doing it for a long time, so we can kind of tell if it’s safe or not,” the show’s lead male skater, Michael Chack said. Twenty skaters perform in the show.
Rand, a 1984 Walton High School graduate, and his wife, Jen, who were nationally ranked pairs, spent years traveling the professional ice-skating circuit, performing in shows such as Ice Capades, Disney on Ice, Stars on Ice-Italian Tour, and Radio City Music Hall’s Christmas Spectacular. The couple recently moved back to the Atlanta area with their two daughters Hayden, 2, and McKinsey, six months.
He wrote and produced The Holiday Ice Spectacular in Reno, Nev., where it was performed for two seasons before bringing it to Cobb.
“There wasn’t a whole lot of opportunity for families to do here during the holiday season, in our opinion,” Rand said. “The business plan is for this to become my Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade for Atlanta.”
The show will feature performances daily from Dec. 16 through Dec. 24. Tickets are $25 to $69 and are available through Ticketmaster. For more information, visit www.holidayicespectacular.com.