The first-ever Alive After Five Winter Wonderland will be happening on Thursday, Dec. 20, but without the added bonus of an ice rink in the middle of Patchogue’s Main Street.
Plans for the synthetic rink proved unfeasible, according to officials with the Greater Patchogue Chamber of Commerce, which is planning the winter street festival.
Not only did the rink prove too expensive, it would have only been set up for a few hours, the organizers found.
“We figured about 500 people would get to use it, and considering thousands have shown interest in this event on social media, it seemed a lot more than 500 would be coming down with the expectation to skate,” said the chamber’s executive director, David Kennedy. “We wanted to keep this event positive and not let anybody down.”
Winter’s version of Alive After Five will kick off at 5 p.m. and run until 8 p.m. And there will be plenty of attractions at the Winter Wonderland, which is being planned with support of the area’s retailers in mind.
The idea is to get people out shopping and having fun.
To make way for the crowds, East Main Street will be closed to vehicle traffic from Ocean to Maple avenues, starting at 4 p.m., and will remain closed until 9 p.m.
“We expect to have a lot of families come down,” Kennedy said. “This is meant to encourage holiday shopping and the whole holiday experience, while expanding the chamber’s Alive After Five brand. Certainly our bars and restaurants will be open for business, with many providing great live entertainment, but it’s not the traditional Alive After Five with the outdoor drinking areas.”
The chamber has already secured bounce houses and a “huge” novelty snow globe attraction, which also serves as photo booth.
There will be a Polar Express-style trackless train for kids.
And, Mediterranean Manor will be donating ice sculptures and its wedding carriage will be used to transport Santa Claus through the streets. Santa will also be available for family photos outside Sensationally Sweet at 18 East Main Street.
More attractions are also in the works, Kennedy said.
In an effort to retain the rink, the chamber had started an online fundraising campaign.
Chamber representatives will be reaching out to the individual donors. Those donors will be asked whether they want their money back, or if the chamber could use the funds for this year’s festival. Or, lastly, if the donors would like the money set aside for next year’s ice rink efforts.
Kennedy said the chamber does want an ice rink for 2019.
“Maybe in a place where it could be set up for an entire day or event an entire weekend,” he said.