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Derby Street Shoppes looking to give back to community

Posted by Jessica Bartlett  January 14, 2011 04:39 PM

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Sean Fitzpatrick sculpting snow

The pond is frozen solid, the snow sculpture almost complete, and the trees have been decked out with lights for the second annual Hidden Pond Free Ice Skating event at the Derby Street Shoppes this Saturday at 1 p.m.

The post-holiday program brought hundreds of locals out to the shallow pond behind Whole Foods last year to participate in the free skate event, and this year, the Shoppes’ management expects the same kind of results.

Already, the team is going all out – from installing a warming area with fire pits next to the skating rink, to recreating a winter wonderland with leftover Christmas trees.

“We have an amazing team working on this,” said Marketing and Social Media Coordinator Niamh O’Maille. “They have a great vision, and [how it comes together] is really fantastic.”

Nationally known ice sculptor Sean Fitzpatrick, who has showcased his work on Racheal Ray, The Today Show, ABC News, and Good Morning America, will bring part of the magic.

For Saturday, he will carve a mountainous village overlooking the entryway to the rink, and will also give a sculpting demonstration to skaters the day of the event.

He looked up at the massive blocks of snow and ice that had been lying in wait for two days and he smiled to himself. Although the event was four days away, he wasn’t worried.

“Failure is not an option,” he said with a grin.

This idea for the village came from the Derby Street team, but when Fitzpatrick arrived on scene, the entirety of the image just came to him, he said.

Already, the tangible of Fitzpatrick’s imagination started peaking its way through as the professional ice sculptor began carving his way through the tall blocks of white, stacked snow on Tuesday.

The rink, the decorations, the sculptures, and the music -– available at no charge to any local -- is a way for the Derby Street Shoppes to give back to the community that they rely upon for business, said Carolyn Kennedy, director of lifestyle centers for WSM Hingham Properties LLC.

“We want to be the best neighbor for our community, and we want this to be the gathering place,” she said. “We know we have a moral obligation, because of who we are, to support all the local arts and anything that goes on without our community reach.”

The Shoppes are also planning on hosting two events for the Atlantic Symphony Orchestra, for which they hope to raise money and awareness.

In late January, Derby will take previously purchased tickets from the ASO and give them out to shoppers who spend more than $25 in certain stores. The shopping plaza will also host an open gallery in February, with 30 percent of the artists’ commissions to be donated to the orchestra.

All in all, the plaza is excited to give back, and hopeful the event is a success.

“The center has been inundated with calls from eager skaters looking forward to getting back on the ice,” Kennedy said in a press release. “We are very much a part of the community here in Hingham and [are looking forward to an] event that the whole community can enjoy.”

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