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Santa Claus encourages a young skater at Bode Ice Arena during a previous Mayor’s Christmas Party.

After having to take a year off in 2020, the city’s popular Mayor’s Christmas Party is back at Bode Ice Arena this weekend.

Hosting the annual Christmas skating show featuring the Griffon Gliders and St. Joseph Skating Club, as well as the Mayor’s Christmas Party, the rink, located 2500 Southwest Parkway, is expected to be jumping this weekend.

“I think any time we can do these types of community events that are targeting youth, especially younger children ... I think it’s important,” said Chuck Kempf, director of the St. Joseph Parks, Recreation and Civic Facilities.

The events will kick off with the Christmas program “Feeling Frosty,” presented by the Griffon Gliders synchronized ice skating teams and the St. Joseph Figure Skating Club.

Set to both traditional and contemporary Christmas music, it will feature two dozen performances by local skaters, as well as the Griffon Gliders Gold and Silver synchronized skating teams performing their 2021-2022 competition programs. The shows will be performed at 6:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Dec. 10 and 11, and 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 12. One hour of free skating will follow each show.

Along with those performances, the Mayor’s Christmas Party will make its big comeback from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Dec. 11. It also will include performances from St. Joseph Figure Skating Club 2021 and 2022 graduating seniors and the Griffon Gliders synchronized skating teams, as well as appearances by Mayor Bill McMurray and Santa Claus.

The final Christmas Party for McMurray, he said he’s excited to get back on the ice and celebrate the holidays.

“I’m going to be extra careful so I don’t fall down on the ice,” he said laughing. “It’s just a great time. The spirit of Christmas is so alive on the children’s faces and I suppose that’s what I enjoy the most.”

Because the events have typically packed the place, Kempf said he expects this year to be no different.

“There’s a lot of people that look forward to this event each year ... It’s plenty busy,” he said.

With COVID-19 remaining around the area, Kempf said they will try and keep people safe with some distancing measures.

“We can’t really control what people do and where they go in the building, but we’re eliminating some of the ways we do things. We’re changing it so that we minimize the natural tendency for people to cluster. So we’re trying to do some things to help with that,” he said.

Tickets at the door for the Christmas shows are $10 for adults and $5 for children 5 and older. Admission to the Mayor’s Christmas Party is free.

Andrew Gaug can be reached at andrew.gaug@newspressnow.com.

Follow him on Twitter: @NPNOWGaug

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