The Atlantic City Boardwalk is getting into the holiday spirit this year with a new $250,000 light show at Boardwalk Hall.
The seven-minute “Winter Sweet” show was previewed Thursday night and features electronic images of ballerinas, trains and even sledding elves.
The show will be unveiled to residents and visitors alike during a special free winter celebration Saturday featuring “American Idol” runner-up Clay Aiken. The premiere will also include holiday music, live entertainment, hot beverages and sweets.
The 3D light show was created by Moment Factory, a Montreal-based new media and entertainment studio that introduced its first Boardwalk Hall show, “Duality,” in July.
“The point is to have free things along the Boardwalk and to bring spectacle back to the Boardwalk,” said Jeff Guaracino, the chief strategy officer for the Atlantic City Alliance, who paid for the development of “Winter Sweet.”
“Duality’s” success, more than 200,000 people saw that show, led to the creation of “Winter Sweet.”
About 25 artists worked for more than three months on “Winter Sweet,” which is a compressed time frame for this type of show, said Genevieve Forest, the Moment Factory producer.
“This is a celebration about winter. The Atlantic City Alliance, they gave us a lot of liberty for the first show. They gave us even more liberty for this show,” said Forest, who added that the show will be tweaked up until its public debut Saturday. “We are doing a multimedia experience. ... One of the challenges is that it is important not to hide the architecture behind the projection.
The eastern side of the Boardwalk Hall gave Moment Factory a large canvas to create their show. Twelve projectors are used to shoot images onto the building that cover 163 feet in width and 103 feet in height while a surround-sound system plays original music.
“Winter Sweet” breaks into three parts.
The first part, “Snow and Ice,” shows the hall icing over as winter approaches. The projections show dancing ballerinas, falling snow and a train that moves along the top and the middle of the building. The rumbling from the train appears to shake loose the facade of the building.
The hall shifts from stone to the image of a candy wonderland in the second part of the video, titled “Winter Village.” Spectators will see candles, elves on sleds and sugary treats.
The video’s third section, “Illumination,” shows holiday ornaments, but the video ends with the promise of spring to come as flowers seemed to be shooting out of the towers of the building.
“That’s really cool, really nice,” said Pat Campanaro, 51, of Toms River, who happened to be passing by as the preview was shown.
“Winter Sweet” will be shown nightly every half-hour from 6 to 9 p.m. at Boardwalk Hall at 2301 Boardwalk between Georgia and Mississippi avenues at Kennedy Plaza.
Saturday’s kickoff featuring Aiken is a free event taking place from 5:30 to 7 p.m. The first public showing of “Winter Sweet” will be at 6 p.m. Saturday.
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