Mall at UTC

Holiday village with outdoor ice-skating rink opens at UTC in Sarasota

A rendering of UTC’s Holidays on the Green seasonal village.
A rendering of UTC’s Holidays on the Green seasonal village. Courtesy of University Town Center

An outdoor ice-skating rink – with real ice – in Florida.

That’s what residents throughout Manatee and Sarasota can expect at the Mall at University Town Center in Sarasota this holiday season.

An outdoor, tent-covered rink at the mall opened Friday night as part of the organization’s brand new “Holidays on the Green” seasonal holiday village. The festive “winter” village will be open through Jan. 15.

The ice-skating rink, equipped with real ice, sits under a tent filled with string lights. And as long as the temperature is 78 degrees or below, the tent flaps will be rolled up, said marketing manager Lauren Clark.

Clark says they expect to have the tent fully open on most nights, weather permitting.

The idea to have the flaps open is to give people the feeling of skating completely outdoors, something few in Florida get to experience.

But that’s not all Holidays on the Green will offer. Students from schools across the region are getting the chance to design some of the decorations.

Jumbo, 4-foot-tall holiday greeting cards created by the children will line the perimeter of the holiday village with the theme “I believe,” Clark said. Participants also will be able to vote for their favorite.

“What we are trying to do here is connect to the community,” Clark said of the village, “to really just invite the community here for more than just shopping.”

The village will also feature various holiday character meet-and-greets throughout the season. The list of characters will be updated on the mall’s holiday village website.

Samantha Putterman: 941-745-7027, @samputterman

If you go

What: Holidays on the Green

When: 4-10 p.m. Monday-Friday; 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday; Noon-8 p.m. Sunday

Where: The Mall at University Town Center

Cost: $10 will get you skates and 90 minutes of skating time.

Noteworthy: Each Saturday will feature a holiday moving screening at 7 p.m.