An Augusta tradition expands to create a Christmas Destination in the CSRA

COLUMBIA COUNTY, GA (WFXG) - Lights of the South and Augusta On Ice are merging to make the holidays happier!

Mike and Christine Boerner introduced ice skating to the CSRA when they founded Augusta On Ice in 2017. It made a big splash, attracting 30,000 people, they told Fox 54's Jasmine Anderson.

A chance encounter a month ago changed the direction of their venture. The Boerners met Lights of the South co-owner Mark Jackson at a concert, and they were inspired to join forces.

"He talked about family and he talked about community and he talked about memories and reasons to come together," said Christine Boerner.

Things like tractor rides through a fantasy land of lights, Mrs. Claus' Kitchen, s'mores and more have brought people out to experience Lights of the South for more than a decade.

The new merge means the ice rink will move from Richmond to Columbia County - and it will go where the maze currently is.

"It's only gonna be a greater experience with the ice skating rink 'cuz there's no where around here to do anything like that," said co-owner of Lights of the South, Mark Jackson.

Although this means downtown Augusta is losing a business, the Boerners say it is a chance to attract more people to the area.

"This is bigger than just the CSRA. Augusta on Ice and Lights of the South already enjoyed attendance from well outside of this area, and I think that there's an opportunity for us to really establish the CSRA as a destination. To bring people throughout - definitely Georgia and South Carolina - to come and see what we have to offer," said Christine Boerner.

Adding ice skating will allow the facility to open earlier and have longer hours. Currently, tickets to ice skate are $15, including skates. Tickets for Lights of the South are $12. Both organizations are working on creating a combo ticket that will allow patrons to enjoy both experiences at a great price.

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