It's almost that jolly time of year where good cheer and holiday magic are in the air, and to celebrate the season, City Center Bishop Ranch is hosting a variety of holiday-themed events to ring in the new year.
Headlined by the inaugural -- and only -- outdoor ice rink in the Tri-Valley, San Ramon’s shopping and lifestyle center will celebrate the season by decking itself out in sparkling decorations and holding a number of festive community activities, beginning on Nov. 15 with the grand opening of the "Kristi Yamaguchi Holiday Ice Skating Rink" -- named for the Valley's own Olympic gold medalist.
Other community events include the grand second annual Tree-Lighting Celebration, Selfies with Santa and the One Warm Coat Donation Drive.
“City Center Bishop Ranch’s holiday celebration events are a great opportunity for the San Ramon and East Bay communities to come together during this season of giving,” said Alexander Mehran, Jr., president and CEO of Sunset Development Company -- owner of City Center Bishop Ranch. “We’re thankful to be able to spread good cheer and our hope is to provide each visitor with a memorable holiday experience.”
The Kristi Yamaguchi Holiday Ice Skating Rink will hold its grand opening on Nov. 15 and will be available for residents through Jan. 5.
The 4,100-square-foot ice rink is named after the East Bay’s own Kristi Yamaguchi -- 1992 Olympic gold medal winner in women’s figure skating -- who will kick off the grand opening with a few words.
A portion of ticket sales will benefit Yamaguchi’s Always Dream Foundation, which serves underserved children by helping them “reach for their dreams through innovative reading programs, and promote the importance of early childhood literacy,” City Center officials said in a statement.
“The East Bay is incredibly special to me. I’m proud and fortunate to call it my lifelong home, and to have been able to raise my children here,” said Yamaguchi, who is herself a resident of Alamo. “I’m excited for the opening of the ice rink at City Center Bishop Ranch. My hope is that it will help get the community into the holiday spirit while also raising awareness of Always Dream Foundation and our mission to fight child illiteracy.”
To break the ice and really get the rink started on a fun note, the grand opening will also feature a choreographed holiday skating performance called, “An Icy Christmas” by Polina Edmunds -- the 2016 US Silver Medal champion-- performed with young up-and-coming local skaters, including Yamaguchi’s daughter, Emma Hedican.
The grand opening event will be held at 5 p.m. Nov. 15.
The Kristi Yamaguchi Holiday Ice Skating Rink will be open Mondays through Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Fridays 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Saturdays 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Ticket prices are $12 per skater, $10 for skaters 4 and under and $5 for skate rentals. Students with a valid ID can receive free skate rentals on weekdays before 5 p.m. during non-holiday schedule only. The rink is also available for private party rentals online, learn more at www.citycenterbishopranch.com/ice-rink.
Then, in the holiday spirit of charitable giving, on Nov. 15 and Nov. 22, City Center will be holding its One Warm Coat Drive to collect warm winter clothing for those in need.
A good opportunity to clear out the closet and donate to the more vulnerable residents in Contra Costa County, One Warm Coat is a San Francisco-based charity that has partnered with City Center Bishop Ranch which will place donation bins throughout the center for guests to drop off gently used coats and financial donations.
The first 100 people to donate a coat each night will receive a complimentary ticket to the Kristi Yamaguchi Holiday Ice Skating Rink.
Come Nov. 22, residents throughout the Tri-Valley are invited to one of the center’s largest events of the year, the 2nd Annual Tree-Lighting Celebration, which is free to attend and will include a number of other special events.
Attendees will not only get to witness the lighting of the center’s grand tree -- which officials say will contain nearly 14,000 lights and ornaments -- and surrounding area, but will also be serenaded with a live music and performances from Pride and Joy, the Monte Vista High School Marching Band and San Ramon Voices.
“Festivities also will include hot cocoa and cider cheer stations provided by Williams-Sonoma, face painting and crafts, and conclude with the lighting of a 50-foot Mount Shasta Fir Tree,” City Center officials said.
The second annual Tree-Lighting Celebration will be held from 5-8 p.m. Nov. 22 in City Center’s Alexander Square.
Plus, the celebration will feature the return of the highly popular “Selfies with Santa” which will feature old Saint Nick greeting visitors in Alexander Square for a picture and to listen to their holiday wishes.
Santa will be making time out of his busy holiday schedule to meet with City Center visitors every Saturday and Sunday from 1 to 6 p.m. throughout the holiday season.