Santa lands Saturday via helicopter at mall

Courtesy Photo This year, weather permitting, Santa Claus will arrive by helicopter Saturday at Music

Courtesy Photo

This year, weather permitting, Santa Claus will arrive by helicopter Saturday at Music City Mall in Odessa.

Last year, due to a low cloud deck of 900 feet, Father Christmas had to make his appearance at the mall via fire truck instead of the traditional helicopter entrance due to FAA safety rules.

“We always have a contingency plan for that and the Odessa Fire Department brought Santa in on a fire truck because the helicopter couldn’t take off,” Music City Mall General Manager Greg Morgan said.

However, Santa’s arrival (which will take place in the Northwest Parking lot at 10:30 a.m.) won’t be the only event going on this Saturday at Music City Mall.

The mall will finally celebrate the grand opening of its new Rink N’Roll skating rink with a performance by the LA Roller Girls, following Santa’s Landing. The new rink replaces the ice skating rink area.

The roller skate show is at 11 a.m.

Courtesy Photo

The Roller Girls, who have been featured on The Voice, Lip Sync Battle and in a Bruno Mars music video, will have a 20 minute skate show that will be fast-paced and include acrobatics, music and other special guests.

At 5 p.m. Saturday, there will be a free learn to skate workshop that will be open to the public led by the LA Roller Girls.

The festivities will kickoff at 9 a.m. which includes bounce houses, music, characters, video games and more.

“We’re super excited for this Saturday’s event,” Morgan said. “Every year, we always look forward to the holidays. It’s one of my personal favorites. In the retail world, we’re always looking forward to the holidays and this year, we have the added bonus of having the roller rink done just in time for everyone to arrive.”

Morgan is optimistic this year about the weather forecast for St. Nick to come in by helicopter.

“This year, it’s looking better than last year in terms of the low cloud deck,” Morgan said. “There’s a very good chance of all that going through. Santa will arrive by helicopter and we’ll have all the normal things that we normally do plus a few more. We’ll have cookies and hot cocoa. The Fire Department will have a truck out so kids can check that out.”

For the past couple of months, the ice rink at MCM has been transitioned into a roller rink.

Due to the failure of the old equipment that was used to maintain the ice floor, the mall was unable to get it back up and running and the decision was soon made to convert it to a roller rink.

“The whole purpose behind the ice rink was to provide a community arena where people can come in and do recreational skating too and we could no longer run that due to the failure of the ice plant,” Morgan said. “The next logical step was asking what can we do with that space? Converting it to a roller rink seemed like the next logical option that we had available for us. Certainly, it’s been well-received by everyone that has come out so far.”

While Saturday will serve as the grand opening of the roller rink, Morgan says they’ve already had a soft opening of the rink floor.

“We’re still waiting on some parts that will allow us to convert the bumper cars that we have for the rink that were designed for the ice,” Morgan said. “We ordered those supplies a few months ago but due to supply shortages, we’re still waiting on them. As soon as we get those parts installed, we’ll be able to operate the same bumper cars on the hardwood surfaces so we’re excited to have that come as well.”

Morgan is anticipating the new rink to be just as popular with the community as the ice rink was.

“Of course, just by a stroke of luck, roller skating seems to be making a comeback,” Morgan said. “It tends to run in cycles like it goes up and goes down but we seem to be on the upswing right now and that’s very good. We wanted to minimize the amount of construction that we had to do but hold true to our promise to the community to have a state-of-the-art roller rink.”

The rink includes a new wooden floor with a new sound and lighting system.

“We’ve also added a learn to skate area for toddlers that’s separated by walls so they can learn to skate without worrying about getting run over by the bigger kids,” Morgan said. “That’s a big plus.”

One of the things that Morgan wants parents and kids to be mindful of Saturday during the outdoor festivities is the changing weather.

“We want people to bring appropriate clothing,” Morgan said. “It’s that time of the year where it might be very cold in the morning but by 10 a.m., it starts to warm up so be prepared for all seasons. Of course, if you have COVID concerns, make sure you bring a mask. There will be a lot of people at this event but it’ll be outside for the Santa Landing. Everything will then move indoors. Sanitation stations will be provided and we’ll be doing everything we can to make sure this is a safe and family-friendly event that people can enjoy.”

If you go

>> What: Santa Landing

>> When: 10:30 a.m. Saturday (festivities start at 9 a.m.)

>> Where: Northwest Parking Lot at Music City Mall near Burlington.

If you go

>> What: LA Roller Girls

>> When: 11 a.m. Saturday (after the Santa Landing)

>> Where: MCM Rink N’Roll Skate rink inside the mall

Santa lands Saturday via helicopter at mall