Mild temperatures and the grand opening of an on Parade Plaza helped draw a large crowd downtown on Saturday night for the .
The annual festival featured live music, ballerinas from Eastern Connecticut Ballet, visiting performers from the upcoming show , and a Christmas tree lighting among its attractions. Following a parade down Bank Street, a ribbon cutting ceremony officially opened the rink for use by figure skaters, youth hockey, and people just looking to test out the synthetic surface.
"This is just an incredibly positive thing for New London, and we are thrilled to have this happen in the middle of Parade Plaza," said Tony Silvestri, president of the board of .
Mayor Martin Olsen said the idea for a downtown skating rink has been in the works for two years, and felt it would help bring in visitors to see the attraction and shops in the area.
"This is extraordinarily exciting," he said.