Cardiff-based events specialist 11th Hour is beginning preparations for another busy winter season with a significant expansion of its ice rink provision in Wales. As well as its flagship Cardiff installation and regular Celtic Manor and Bargoed sites, this season sees new rinks at Caerphilly Castle, Swansea and Aberystwyth. The new projects reflect not only the company’s strong reputation as a leading provider in this field but also its steadily increasing capacity to stage simultaneous and geographically spread, large-scale installations.
Presented by Sayers Amusements, Cardiff’s Winter Wonderland with its authentic alpine village, Bier Keller, fairground and stalls will once again host the largest of the rinks. Over the years Wonderland has grown to be Cardiff’s biggest seasonal attraction, breaking attendance records in successive years – in 2017 more than 60,000 skaters took to the ice during the rink’s 9 week run. The 11th Hour team is entirely responsible for every aspect of constructing, maintaining, managing and staffing the 40m x 23m rink, which is once again sponsored by Cardiff-based car insurance giants Admiral. A ClearSpan covering structure, capable of withstanding storm-force winds (closure is only necessary if wind speeds exceed 50mph) not only ensures that it remains open for all sessions but that ice temperature is more easily maintained at a constant temperature within the micro-climate created.
A similar arrangement and structure will be in place at Waterfront Winterland in Swansea (also a Sayers presentation sponsored by Admiral). This year Sayers takes complete control of the event, having worked in partnership with Swansea Council in past years. In the light of the growing success of its Cardiff showpiece, the company did not hesitate to engage 11th Hour to deliver the 30m x 23m rink as well as all staff, ticketing, sponsorship and production. The rink is open from November 16th – January 6th.
Caerphilly Castle will provide a spectacular backdrop for a 20m x 10m rink, part of a festive programme organised by Cadw in partnership with a number of sponsors, running from November 23rd until December 9th. 11th Hour will provide staff, ticketing, sponsorship and structures for the rink, which, at the end of its run at the castle, will be transported to Bargoed for a five-day period in mid-December. 11th Hour personnel will staff that rink for what is certain to be a popular and welcome return.
Taking the castle theme a little further afield, 11th Hour will be installing a 20m x 10m rink in the grounds of Aberystwyth Castle for the Advancing Aberystwyth team, who manage the town’s Business Improvement District (BID). Last year, at 11th Hour’s invitation, a number of business support organisations visited Cardiff’s Winter Wonderland to see for themselves the impact of ice-skating during the festive period. Advance Aberystwyth were impressed with what they saw and invited 11th Hour to manage and staff the first attraction of its kind in this area of mid-Wales. The rink will open on December 8th and run until January 2nd.
11th Hour takes its environmental responsibilities very seriously and its turnkey ice rink solutions enable the company to be as green as possible. With its own fleet of cutting-edge, highly efficient generators and the latest in ice-rink technology, energy consumption, cost and carbon footprint are significantly reduced. Dedicated accessibility sessions are also a feature of the rinks, enabling the widest possible constituency to enjoy the rewards of the ice. Sessions will be held where lighting remains static, amplified sound levels are reduced and a rink’s capacity is decreased to allow those in need of extra support to enjoy their experience to the full.
11th Hour Business Development Manager Jason Venables looks forward to a hectic season:
“It doesn’t seem that long ago that we had teams all over the UK sweltering at Festival sites and yet here we are, installing ice rinks – it just goes to show how busy we are – there’s hardly time to catch your breath at 11th Hour! There’s no doubt that councils, communities and businesses are increasingly recognising the benefits that ice rinks bring during the festive season. They help increase footfall and spend into the local economy and just as importantly, they foster a real sense of goodwill and enjoyment. To have increased our reach to this extent is a sign of just how popular the Christmas ice-skate has become to families and businesses alike. Our 11th Hour teams are highly trained and well versed in delivering a quality service from ticketing operations to rink-side and our technical staff ensure that customers enjoy perfect conditions. It looks like it’s going to be another record-breaking season!”