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Skating in the Park to kickstart downtown Huntsville holiday events

HUNTSVILLE – With a nod to Brenda Lee, a hall of famer from Atlanta who sang a song that became a Christmas classic, Downtown Huntsville Inc. is partnering with the Huntsville Museum of Art for “Rockin’ Around the Rocket City.”

The program will feature three holiday attractions in Big Spring Park: Tinsel Trail, Skating in the Park and the Rocket City Tree.

Lee recorded “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree’’ in 1958, a tune that helped launch her into the Country Music Hall of Fame that remains a holiday staple.

Skating in the Park officially opens today at 4 p.m. A ribbon-cutting will take place at 3:30 p.m. with opening remarks from Brenda Martin, host of Inside Huntsville, a program within Mayor Tommy Battle’s office. She will be speaking at the event on behalf of Battle. The public can meet and take pictures with Santa Claus from 5-6 p.m.

“DHI is proud to bring another year of Tinsel Trail to Big Spring Park, and we are excited to partner with the Huntsville Museum of Art to enhance the holiday experience in downtown with Skating in the Park and the debut of the Rocket City Tree,” Rob Buddo, president and CEO of Downtown Huntsville Inc., said in a news release. “We want to thank our sponsor, Meta, for making this event possible. We also want to give special recognition to the City of Huntsville’s Parks & Recreation team and to Drake State for helping us prepare for this year’s trail.”

Tinsel Trail, presented by Meta, is free. The event showcases more than 400 live Christmas trees decorated by local businesses, families, and organizations. This year, the trail also includes the mayor’s new 25-foot Christmas tree, the Rocket City Tree, presented by Huntsville Coca-Cola.

The 2023 Tinsel Trail season kicks off in Big Spring Park on Nov. 24 with a Tinsel Trail Market, hosting 40 local artisan vendors from 2-8 p.m., and a tree lighting ceremony for the Rocket City Tree at 6 p.m. 

“Tinsel Trail creates holiday magic in Big Spring Park and downtown Huntsville,” Battle said. “It brings the community together by the hundreds to decorate the trees and by the thousands to experience the lights and joys of the season. Downtown sparkles in December, making it one of the best times of the year to stroll through Tinsel Trail and visit our many bars and restaurants, shops, music venues and museums.”

Tinsel Trail will be open to the public every day, rain or shine, until Dec. 31, and will feature several activities throughout the holiday season. More information can be found at TinselTrail.com.

Located behind the Huntsville Museum of Art in Big Spring Park, the rink will be open seven days a week until Jan. 7.

“Skating in the Park is a holiday tradition for North Alabama and surrounding communities, drawing crowds in to celebrate the holiday season leading into the new year,” Hank Isenberg, president of the Museum Foundation Board, said in the release. “This year marks the 11th anniversary of Skating in the Park, and each year proves to be more vibrant and distinctive than the last. It’s exciting to celebrate alongside other Downtown Holiday Traditions including the Tinsel Trail and the Rocket City Tree. This annual event wouldn’t be possible without generous sponsors, the HMA Foundation Board and Staff, and the City of Huntsville.”

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