Like most of you in the city with young daughters, all of the staff at Rock City’s girls have made plans to attend the latest touring show to hit Little Rock, Frozen on Ice, this week.
It is easy in our quest for everything local to overlook something like Frozen on Ice, the national tour is anything but local. Shows like this have the ability to inspire young minds, however, in a way that rarely happens on a local scale. Plus the impact of shows like this which will attract many from around the state and surrounding areas has a strong impact on the local economy.
Amid the overpriced light up toys and the hundreds of girls in princess dresses are a bunch of extraordinary young women and men continuing their dreams of being professional ice skaters. We caught up with one of the performers, Stephanie Clark, to get her take on performing for young children.
“There is nothing more fun than watching the faces of a bunch of young girls lined up in their princess dresses when we skate,” Clark describes. “We get a chance to inspire children in every single city and that is a very rewarding experience.”
It is not just the inspiration of seeing a Disney princess, Clark and many of the other performers teach our children to never give up on their goals.
Clark began skating at age 5 and has won over 80 medals and trophies throughout her career. After college she was not ready to give up on her dream of skating and wanted the opportunity to explore the world outside her small hometown of McDonald, PA with a population of 2,125 people.
“I loved skating from a young age,” Clark tells us. “Doing Disney on Ice gives me the ability to continue to live out my dream while I am young. Plus I get to travel the world and see places most people only get to see in movies. I hate being away from home, but the experience now is something I will never be able to do again.”
Clark says she hopes that the kids who come watch the performances will see the desire to follow their dreams, as well as develop a greater respect for figure skating as a sport.
In addition to the performances, many tours like Disney on Ice have a community outreach component. The stars of the show toured Arkansas Children’s Hospital yesterday to reach kids that otherwise would not be able to make it to the show.
The impact is felt beyond just inspiring future generations, many small and local businesses thrive on the traffic that shows like this bring in.
“During big events we are sometimes doing everything we can do to get tickets out quickly so that people can get to the show. We get absolutely overwhelmed when there is an event downtown,” one River Market restaurant professional tells us.
As the awareness of local dining, shopping, and activities has risen, so has the impact on local businesses when big events come to town. It is not only the downtown area that sees an impact either.
Venture around town to places in the target audience of a show, like kid oriented restaurant All Aboard for instance, and you will see busier than normal restaurants and shops. Many of the things that locals take for granted on a day to day basis are a special treat for visitors to the city. Where once the main impacts happened in the well known chains, the rise of people seeking a uniquely local experience means a greater impact on our economy.
So regardless of the lack of a local connection, events like Disney on Ice offer a great experience that positively impact our community and provide an inspiration for future generations. Just skip the overpriced light up toys.
Disney’s Frozen on Ice runs now through Sunday. Get tickets here.