Avery Wing (left) and Stella Evans enjoy an evening at the Marble Falls ice skating rink. Staff photo by Daniel Clifton
The Marble Falls Walkway of Lights concluded its 30th year with big numbers. The Christmas lights display, which closed Jan. 2, drew approximately 44,100 visitors in 2020 to Lakeside Park, a 98 percent increase over the number of visitors in 2019.
The data came from a mobile phone study for Lakeside Park.
“The 30th anniversary went better than expected,” said Mindy Miller, events coordinator for the Marble Falls/Lake LBJ Chamber of Commerce. “I think, at times, we were overwhelmed with the crowds, in a good way. It was kind of like, ‘Oh, my gosh, where is everybody coming from?’ I think the ice skating contributed a lot to the success, too. The way we worked with the city and the city worked with us, it was a huge success.”
This year, the Marble Falls Parks and Recreation Department hosted an ice skating rink at Lakeside Park adjacent to Walkway of Lights.
According to a report made by Parks and Recreation Director Lacey Dingman at the department’s regular meeting Jan. 4, the rink was also a success, selling 7,001 tickets and collecting an estimated $73,000 in revenue.
“Really proud of where we were at,” Dingman said. “We learned a lot. I learned more about how to run an ice skating rink than I ever thought I would know in my career. We had a really good season.”
A mild fall and winter meant that the temporary outdoor ice skating rink was available most days.
“We scheduled 44 nights, and we were able to operate 39 of those,” Dingman said. “We lost five days due to bad weather. A combination of rain, heat, and wind. We were glad we were able to offer the 39 days.”
By initial agreement, the city paid $20,000 upfront and guaranteed a revenue of $40,000. All revenues above $40,000 would be split between the vendor and the city. Because of the five days of bad weather, the city renegotiated the deal with the vendor, which agreed to lower the $40,000 to $35,454.55 for revenue-sharing purposes.
“We’ve covered all of our costs, so we’re excited about that. We’ve proven even during COVID, even at reduced capacity, we were successful,” Dingman added.
Lakeside Park will remain closed through Jan. 15 to regular activities as crews dismantle Walkway of Lights and the skating rink.