Weekend kicks off an array of holiday events

A Menorah and the holiday tree were the stars of Friday night’s 2017 Holiday Tree Lighting ceremony.

As the song says, it’s the most wonderful time of the year, made merrier by Salisbury’s first outdoor ice skating rink opening tomorrow at City Park.

The much-anticipated rink is one of several weekend activities that include lighting of Winter Wonderland at the park, a European-style outdoor market and the 30th annual Boat Parade. Salisbury’s Christmas tree was lit last weekend, and remains on display.

Located on the north end of the footbridge off the walking path at City Park, the skating rink will be open from noon to 8 p.m. on Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday. The cost will be $5 for 20 minutes. A private fund-raiser will be there Friday night.

The frame for the rink has been built, with supplies donated by 84 Lumber and constructed, free of charge, by Shipe Builders, Inc. On Friday, artificial ice will be laid by experts at Artificial Ice Events in Massachusetts.

The surface is similar to the ice rink at The Carousel in Ocean City.

If it’s popular, skating could remain open during the entire holiday season next year, said Mike Dunn, CEO of the Greater Salisbury Committee, one of the partners that conceived of the idea to bring it to town. The others are the city of Salisbury and Wyatt’s Warriors. Pohanka Salisbury is sponsoring the event.

As skaters glide and twirl, guests can shop at the European-style Christmas Marketplace, also new this year, where they will find gifts, holiday decorations and foods. There will be free photos with Santa Claus.

“We’re expanding our Winter Wonderland experience,” Dunn said.

Last year, Wyatt’s Warriors – formed by Jen Shipe after her infant son died in 2015 and with the mission of raising money to help families enduring difficult times — purchased a 50-foot tree from the Town of Ocean City. It will shine on the other side of the river from the ice rink. Other trees in the park will be lit from the ground, up.

Shipe, chairwoman of the event, said organizers are “really excited that Wyatt’s Warriors is able to provide anything like this in the park that all families are going to enjoy.”

During the boat parade Saturday evening, about 20 lit, decorated vessels, including one toting Santa Claus, will leave the Wicomico Yacht Club at 5 p.m. and Downtown around 7 p.m.

“You can see the parade anywhere along the river from the Wicomico Creek to Downtown,” said Scott McCurdy, chairman of the parade.

“Any place you can get close to the river you can watch the boat parade. One popular spot is Upper Ferry. We usually pass Upper Ferry around 6 o’clock. Typically Upper Ferry is just jammed with people,” McCurdy said.

“There are parties, bonfires behind people’s homes. One guy lights off fireworks,” he said.

“We’re hoping there is fair weather. We’ve been involved with Toys for Tots now probably about 10 years. We been active collecting toys for about a month. We drop off the toys at the Port of Salisbury Marina, to the U.S. Marine Corps representatives,” McCurdy said.

Last year. 27 bins of toys were delivered. Donations will be accepted until Nov. 25. Call McCurdy at 410-430-2282.

Meantime, Santa is getting ready for the 71st annual Salisbury Parade, as are entrants who, in the holiday spirit, will march and wave to the enthusiastic crowd on Sunday, Dec. 3.

Sponsored by the Salisbury Jaycees, the parade will begin at 2 p.m. at the corner of Civic Avenue and Mount Hermon Road. If it rains, it will be the following Sunday.

This year, the theme is Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree, so Gary Beauchamp, who recently retired as director of bands for Wicomico

County public schools, was asked to be grand marshal.

There are about 100 entries who will join Santa and Mrs. Claus, Jaycee’s cute mascot Saul the Bear, fire trucks, marching bands and local, county and state dignitaries.

“The Jaycees founded the parade in 1947 as not only a celebration of Christmas, but also as the troops were coming back from World War II,” explained Jason Rhodes, past president of the Jaycees.

“The first year of the parade, Santa Claus was pulled in a World War II surplus Jeep. The parade is a family tradition in more ways than one. It celebrated families coming back from World War II. In the long run, families get together as they are celebrating the season and also celebrating Salisbury,” Rhodes said.

The current president of Salisbury Jaycees is Kristy Johnson.

Staging will be along Civic Avenue in the former Salisbury Mall lot. The parade will move west along Mount Hermon Road to East Main Street and end at the intersection of Ward and East Main Streets.

Trophies will be awarded in categories including best marching band, best commercial entry, best non-commercial entry, best non-commercial float, best youth entry, best scout troop, best fire department, best motorized unit, best animal unit and best marching unit.

The parade will be televised on PAC 14, channel 14 on Comcast in Salisbury.






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