Forum River Center

The Forum River Center will be offering more than ice skating the weekend before Thanksgiving.

AMP Rome’s Winter Wonderland Carnival & Ice Festival is a showcase of different cultures from around the world, celebrating the winter season.

“This is a wonderful event that’s for everyone, regardless of ethnicity or beliefs,” Executive Director Mark Van Leuven said.

Van Leuven got the inspiration for the inaugural event from the Advent Markets of Europe.

“When I was younger, I spent a few Advent seasons backpacking through Central Europe,” Van Leuven said.

“The villages would close down late in the afternoon and the citizens open up vendor booths, food booths and regale the town with seasonal entertainment.”

The purpose of the event is to bring the community together to learn more about the different cultural backgrounds Rome residents share.

A Kwanzaa booth, a Hanukkah booth and a Winter Solstice booth are just a few examples of the kinds of displays that will be present at the festival. Jerusalem Grill will have their own Palestinian display as well.

“Art activities, games, skits, artisans, artists and food vendors will be present at the event,” AMP President Jessie Reed said.

Giant inflatables and carnival games make up the carnival part of the event. These will be outside the Forum on the Town Green.

“Last year we had theme days, but this year we want to focus on the vendors and carnival games.” Reed said.

Unlike last year, the event will take place not just around the ice rink, but also along the hallways, the ballroom and outside.

The Winter Wonderland Carnival & Ice Festival is free for people to attend. It will run Saturday, Nov. 23, and Sunday, Nov. 24, from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

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