Return of holiday ice show outside Snoopy’s Home Ice in Santa Rosa thrills
The rave reviews started only moments after the close of a debut holiday show Saturday outside Snoopy’s Home Ice arena in Santa Rosa.
“We loved it. It was wonderful!” exclaimed Natalie Doran, who was there with her 21-month-old daughter, Natalia. ”It feels like holiday spirit!“
That’s the kind of reaction director Carmen Maria Mitchell, a Santa Rosa native, was hoping for when she came up with idea of holding a holiday skating show at her hometown rink. Saturday was the first time in decades that such an extravaganza had been held at Snoopy’s Home Ice — albeit outside, on a synthetic surface.
Still, the debut afternoon performance, the first of three free shows Saturday, drew about 350 people of all ages, many of them young families. And as the sun set and the temperatures dipped into the 40s, people bundled up in heavy jackets and warm, tasseled snow hats.
Mitchell’s return to Santa Rosa came about because of the pandemic. Just before it struck, she had moved to New York to pursue a career in singing, acting and figure skating. Then she was forced to move home, depressed by the lost opportunity. She eventually made contact with local friend and competitive skater Kim Navarro and her sister, Lisa, and the idea was born.
“I’m honored to do this and very grateful for myself and my cast that we were able to perform at this historic, iconic place,” an emotional Mitchell, 31, said following the first show. “We’re really hoping to grow.”
Most of the cast members were just thrilled to be performing again, Mitchell said.
Saturday’s performances marked the debut of the ice theater division of the nonprofit Redwood Theatre Co., founded by Mitchell and friends in 2015. The shows featured professional skaters, dancers and singers, including Snoopy himself in a festive Santa Claus suit, waving. The ice stage featured a fireplace and two decorated Christmas trees.
People were charmed by the dancers in sparkly holiday costumes. Children in penguin outfits filled the cast, skating their hearts out.
Starting off the show, vocal duo Lorenzo Alviso and Jackie Diaz performed “Love is An Open Door” and “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.” In addition to the pop vocalists, there were hip hop acts and contemporary ballet dancers.
They performed to piped-in Christmas songs: “Jingle Bells” by the Chipmunks, “We Need A Little Christmas” by Johnny Mathis and even “The Reindeer Pokey,” a takeoff on “The Hokey Pokey” with ice dancers sporting antlers and red noses.
“The show was awesome,” said William Garcia, who drove from Fairfield with his family. “It was wonderful. We planned a whole family outing. We got to ice skate inside.”
Before the shows came into being, Mitchell purchased the plastic ice, and she and some other skaters began doing small shows in backyards for their “mental health,” she said.
And how was it skating on the polymer surface? “There was a learning curve,” Mitchell said, laughing.
Later they got in touch with Tamara Stanley, Snoopy’s Home Ice general manager, who contacted Sonoma Clean Power, the public electricity supplier, to sponsor the show. The sponsorship made it possible for the theater group to purchase a larger surface and bigger lights, Mitchell said.
Some members of the audience remember the long-ago ice shows and were excited to see the holiday tradition return.
“This is something the community has been waiting for for years,” said Diana Dumbadse, longtime Santa Rosa resident and a friend of the Mitchell family. “It’s an amazing connection with Snoopy’s Home Ice and the Redwood Theatre Co. They brought it back in a new way.”
You can reach Staff Writer Kathleen Coates at firstname.lastname@example.org or 707-521-5209.
Windsor and Cloverdale, The Press Democrat
As someone who grew up in a small town, I enjoy covering what's happening in Windsor and Cloverdale, which are growing in their own unique ways. I delve into issues by getting to know people and finding out what’s going on in the community. I also pay attention to animal welfare and other issues that affect Sonoma County.
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