Mexico City, Nov 30, 2008 (EFE via COMTEX) — The largest ice skating rink in the world opened on the weekend in this capital with a five-hour show including performances by Mexican pop groups, children’s choruses singing Christmas carols and professional skaters who went through their fluid and graceful movements on the ice for the crowd.
Mexico City’s Zocalo, one of the largest public squares in the world, was packed Saturday with thousands of individuals and families who didn’t want to miss the rink’s opening, the lighting-up of the capital’s Christmas decorations and the traditional fireworks.
Preceding the Christmas holiday by almost a month, the show was designed to delight children, and organizers even arranged to have artificial snow fall on the square during much of the evening.
The musical “fiesta” was performed on three stages, one in the Zocalo itself and the other two at strategic spots elsewhere in the city: on the Alameda Central and at the monument to the Mexican Revolution.
There, the Mexico City Children’s Chorus, the largest in Latin America with more than 300 kids, sang popular Christmas carols, as did children’s singing star Tatiana.
The first event during the evening to elicit expressions of admiration from the crowd was the lighting of the Zocalo’s holiday decorations, a Christmas mosaic illuminated with 75,000 lights and containing 10,000 meters (6.2 miles) of festive trim, 7,500 meters (4.6 miles) of garlands and 22,000 meters (13.6 miles) of wiring.
The lighting of the Christmas tree was another key point in the evening. The 50-meter-tall (163 feet) pine tree is 20 meters (65 feet) in diameter, has 324 branches festooned 1,100 colorful spherical ornaments, 135 decorative angels and 210,000 lights, and it was a sight to behold when fully illuminated all the way up to the golden angel at the top.
Next to the tree, organizers had set up a small Christmas village with two igloos and a Nativity scene, and not far away had been placed two ramps of natural snow each 39 meters (127 feet) long for children up to age 12 to play on and slide down.
For the youngest kids, on the other hand, an area of natural snow encompassing 400 square meters (4,225 square feet) had been created for them to play in.
Mayor Marcelo Ebrard was the official designated to cut the ribbon inaugurating the skating rink, which is 32,000 square meters (338,000 square feet) in size and this year received a certificate from Guinness World Records verifying that it is the largest in the world.