ORIOLES' ARTS IN THE BALLPARK SERIES BRINGS A NEW FORM OF ENTERTAINMENT TO SARASOTA
Carolers, dancers and candy canes? At a ballpark? You bet!
In a first for Sarasota's Ed Smith Stadium, the Orioles presented "Ice on the Diamond - A Holiday Celebration," a dazzling, holiday-themed show featuring world-class ice skaters on a specially engineered ice stage at the ballpark on December 20.
The stadium was decked out for the holidays, creating a festive backdrop to this family-friendly event that featured a cast of skaters and comedic actors who have performed for audiences around the world.
As spectators gathered under the stars in the stands along third base, they were treated to performances by the Spotlight Kids, who danced while singing songs of the season. In the concourse, carolers from Trinity Christian Fellowship and the Silver Foxes of Venice Theater entertained, while the Oriole Bird posed for photos as audience members enjoyed refreshments. After the skating performance, the audience was treated to candy canes as a parting gift from the Orioles.
"The Orioles are committed to providing year-round, world-class entertainment to the Sarasota community," said David Rovine, Vice President of Orioles-Sarasota. "The Arts in the Ballpark Series, and the 'Ice on the Diamond' show in particular, are an extension of the Orioles' long-standing commitment to the arts and to providing affordable, family entertainment."
The ice show's cast included a world-class team of national and international skaters. Soloists were Michael Chack, a U.S. national bronze medalist, and Erica Archambault, a U.S. junior national champion. Triple gold medalists Stephanie Kuban and John Hunt were the lead pair. The storyline was advanced by actors Joe Gnoffo and Casey Peterson as "elves" who narrated the show. Ensemble and specialty skaters included Greg Bonin, Ben Blandford, Dianna Ramos, Rachel Reynolds, and Freddy Hernandez.
Jeb K. Rand, son of Sarasota residents Dr. Howard Rand and Nanci Rand, was the show's producer. A former nationally ranked pairs figure skater, he is president and executive producer of Las Vegas-based Rand Enterprises & Productions Inc. and has been involved in figure skating for over 30 years, producing or directing dozens of ice shows around the world.
The event was part of the Orioles' "Arts in the Ballpark" initiatives, a series of arts and entertainment activities for the public at Ed Smith Stadium designed to appeal to a wide range of tastes and interests.
The Orioles' year-round presence in Sarasota includes a variety of activities on the Orioles' combined complex (located at the Ed Smith Stadium and Twin Lakes Park sites), which is devoted to presenting Orioles baseball games, generating other sports and entertainment events that promote area tourism and provide substantial economic impact in Sarasota and throughout the region, and hosting year-round athletic training through Orioles Major League and Minor League Spring Training, Extended Minor League Spring Training, Summer Gulf Coast League, Fall Instructional League, and other athletic rehabilitation programs.
The Orioles have been a part of the Sarasota community for more than two decades, operating an athletic training center at Twin Lakes Park since 1991. In 2009, the Orioles and Sarasota County began a 30-month construction project to renovate the training center at Twin Lakes Park and the ballpark and training center at Ed Smith Stadium in order to consolidate the Orioles' Major and Minor League year round operations. The project has created nearly 500 local jobs and nearly $54 million in construction-related economic impact. In addition, the club's year round events and athletic training program generates another $35 to $50 million in annual economic tourism impact throughout the Sarasota community while also providing a multi-platform, multimedia marketing package valued at more than $1 million annually for the benefit of Visit Sarasota County, the County's tourism development arm, that is used to promote tourism in Greater Sarasota among residents of the team's Mid-Atlantic territory.