LAKE PLACID - Although Stars on Ice was not in Lake Placid this December, it's absence was filled by Holiday Festival on Ice, which brought world-class skaters to the Olympic Center on Dec. 28.
The show was headlined by four-time world champion Kurt Browning, who also starred in last year's Stars on Ice. The mostly Canadian cast included three-time world champion Elvis Stojko, 2011 US National Champion Ryan Bradley, reigning women's figure skating Olympic bronze medalist Joannie Rochette, and 2008 world champion Jeffrey Buttle. Also skating were 2011 Canadian National Silver medalist Shawn Sawyer, 2006 World Champion Kimmie Meissner and seven-time national champions for Great Britain, Sinead and John Kerr.
Originally, the Holiday Festival on Ice show toured in Canada and was a well-received CBC holiday television special. This year, Lake Placid was the only tour date in the United States. Holiday Festival on Ice was an opportunity for those missing Stars on Ice to watch a comparable show with all their favorite skaters.
Kimmie Meissner, the 2006 world champion, performs at the Holiday Festival on Ice at the Olympic Center in Lake Placid on Dec. 28
There were several holiday-themed group numbers, and some of the skaters chose to perform to holiday music, but the show presented a nice mix of both contemporary and seasonal themes.
For the skaters, it was a nice chance to return to Lake Placid, a place each of them have performed at least once. Browning, who has been coming to Lake Placid to skate for about 20 years, said it was a familiar place to be.
"Lake Placid is like home," Browning said. "There's a memory around every corner. It's fun to bring this show here since we have been coming to Lake Placid for Stars every year."
Bradley, who has been to Lake Placid many times as a guest skater in ice shows and for other skating events, agreed that there is something special about being in Lake Placid, especially in an Olympic year.
"It's fun to skate in an Olympic year. It always adds more energy and there's a skating resurgence during the Olympics," Bradley said. "I like coming to Lake Placid during the holidays, it's a nice part of my holiday memories."