ATLANTIC CITY — Singer Clay Aiken on Saturday helped the Atlantic City Alliance unveil its newest laser-light attraction, “Winter Sweet,” on the city’s Boardwalk.
“Winter Sweet,” a follow-up to the summer lightshow “Duality,” uses banks of 3-D projectors to turn historic Boardwalk Hall into a snow-blanketed sleigh run and a candyland, among other winter-themed displays.
The seven-minute illusion will air nightly at regular intervals from 6 to 9 p.m. on the arched Boardwalk façade of the popular landmark.
Hundreds of visitors, many of them from the area, gathered Saturday to sip hot chocolate and cider while the Atlantic City Ballet performed on the Boardwalk stage outside the hall.
“Atlantic City is going strong. It’s open for business,” Aiken said as he helped the crowd count down to the “Winter Sweet” debut. “I feel like it’s New Year’s Eve.”
He was in town for his concert Saturday at the Trump Taj Majal.
The show by Montreal-based Moment Factory was created especially for Atlantic City. The photo-realistic displays feature ice ballerinas, a toy train and a giant hungry marshmallow.
Moment Factory has produced its 3-D effects for events around the world, including halftime for this year’s Super Bowl XLVI in Indianapolis.
Art Director Mareike Lenhart said her company has used many famous landmarks for their canvas, including the Sagrada Familia Roman Catholic Church in Barcelona and Parliament in Ottawa, Ontario.
This show was custom-designed for Boardwalk Hall on the city’s wooden way during three months of painstaking computer animation to match the building’s every line, edge and cornice.
With its granite columns and Roman arches, Boardwalk Hall is one of South Jersey’s most recognizable landmarks. It was built in 1929 and has played host to some of the city’s most famous entertainers and events, including the Miss America Pageant, professional hockey games, the Beatles and Frank Sinatra.
“It was great for what we wanted,” Lenhart said. “Of course, we’re next to the beach so we have to take the salt air into consideration.”
The show uses the symmetry of the building to its advantage to create train tunnels and an elaborate mechanical carousel.
The Atlantic City Alliance, the city’s nonprofit redevelopment group, said its surveys found that 1 in 5 visitors saw “Duality” since it debuted in July. The group hopes to expand its audience with “Winter Sweet,” CEO Liza Cartmell said.
“People loved it so we want to do a better job of promoting it,” she said.
The show is the second of four that Moment Factory will produce for Boardwalk Hall, she said.
A bank of 12 projectors creates the 3-D illusions on the building, helped by a specially made light package on the façade.
The visual effect is extraordinary, said Drew Boyer, of Ventnor, who watched with his wife, Marilynda.
“It’s amazing. It’s really like the blocks are dropping off the side of the building,” he said. “I didn’t think they could top ‘Duality,’ but they did.”
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