Created By Atholton Staff

3 January 2023

Color Burst Park By: Cole Gaither

Don’t miss out on one of the most colorful ice rinks in Columbia! The Color Burst Ice Rink is one of the flashiest ice rinks in Columbia, located at Merriweather. There are plenty of celebrations and holiday themed events throughout the season at the ice rink. Come for the ice skating and stay for the lightshow, music, food, and beverage places around the ice rink that’ll catch your eye. The ice rink itself is filled with holiday lights which light up at night, including a few Christmas trees covered in lights. Tickets are $15.00, and for 75 minutes of ice skating, along with the other attractions, it’s a good deal.

An anonymous visitor was asked if they enjoyed their time at the ice rink, they responded “Yes, I did.”

“I would recommend this ice rink if anyone is looking for a small place to ice skate on the weekends in the Columbia area. The prices were affordable, there was a lot of parking, and there’s plenty of food places to eat before or afterward. The ice rink was also decorative for the holiday season,” said one visitor of the Color Burst Ice Rink, adding that the staff “were nice and helpful.”

Parking is free for the first four hours, which is more than enough time for the 75 minute skating period. Not only that, but the ice rink is open for seven days a week, around four to nine hours depending on the day, so there’s no excuse to miss this event. The ice rink is child friendly, as there are children-skate aids available, and for $5.00 for their 75 minute skating period.

The Color Burst Ice Rink “looks forward to seeing you on the ice!” It’s highly recommended that you purchase your ticket online beforehand, and even then entry with tickets in hand isn’t guaranteed with a 90 person capacity. So don’t miss your chance to visit the Color Burst Ice Rink, as it’ll only last until the end of January. 

Decadent Cafe & Dessert Bar By: Carly Tillman

You don’t know what to expect until the aroma of the cafe gives you a magical holiday feeling; the feeling of home as soon as you walk in. As winter rolls around, Decadent, Howard County’s best bakery, has plenty to offer this season. Whether you want breakfast, dessert, or just something to treat yourself with, Decadent will bring it to you in a family friendly atmosphere. 

            The cafe we know now as the award winning coffee and dessert bar was built during the Covid-19 shutdowns in March 2020. Staff were committed to keeping this business afloat, and with plenty of hard work and effort, Decadent remained open and running as the community’s “happy place”.  

          From their frappes, smoothies and shakes, to their signature hand-made cakes, Decadent has so much to offer. Breakfast sandwiches are a great way to start the day. A highly recommended sandwich is the Southern Charm Croissant Breakfast sandwich, which is filled with scrambled eggs, bacon, melted cheddar cheese and topped off with a warm buttery croissant. And why not add a fun side to your breakfast, like a delicious apple, strawberry or cherry turnover? And, there is nothing wrong with adding a warm cappuccino to make your winter morning complete. What about a homemade dessert to wrap up a meal? You can choose from their hot desserts, truffles, and homemade gelato with a variety of options and flavors, as well as their homemade gluten free desserts, like the creme brulee or a chocolate molten lava cake. There is so much to choose from; just make sure you have room. 

         Winter doesn’t get much better than a trip to a county-loved cafe to enjoy, with over 100 dessert recipes. The cafe is open at 8pm everyday, and closing hours are 8pm on Mondays-Thursdays, 9pm on Fridays-Saturdays, and 6pm on Sundays. Happy hours are also available everyday except Sunday. Take a trip to Decadent in Maple Lawn this winter season.


Doughnut Drop By: Natalie Zepf

As 2023 swiftly approaches us, a great way to kick off the new year is at this year’s The Krumpe’s Doughnut Drop in Downtown Hagerstown, Maryland. Put on by Middletown Valley-Bank, The Maryland Theater, and Krumpe’s Do-Nut Shop Inc., this event comes to celebrate its 10th anniversary this year, with some possible secret celebrations specially for the 10th anniversary. The event will be held Saturday December 31st, in the city square in Hagerstown, MD.  Parking is located on S Potomac parking deck, N potomac parking deck, central lot, market lot, and street parking where indicated. 

Krumpe’s Doughnut Drop has an origin story that sets it apart from most other events in Maryland. After an interview with the Executive Director of The Maryland Theatre, Jessica Green they revealed that, “This event was created off a comment on the late news (former local news station, WHAG).  The anchors were commenting that nearby cities had unique drops.  They asked a question on social media, ‘What would be iconic to ‘drop’ in Hagerstown to ring in the New Year?’  The responses overwhelmingly chose a Krumpe’s donut.” The Krumpe’s Doughnut drop used to be a collaborative event but during 2019 the event “was transferred to the nonprofit,” according to Green. 

Over the years the event went from being a “simple” doughnut drop with music playing to having free concessions, a fireworks display, live music, a Kids Zone, light shows, live entertainment, and even confetti cannons. What once was a simple news prompt has become a loved tradition throughout Hagerstown. 

As for the schedule: at 5:30 they will have live music from DJ Sidekick, 6:00 is free Doughnuts, Coffee, and hot cocoa for the first 5,000 people, and then at 6:59 they drop the doughnut and welcome us to 2023 with a fireworks display sponsored by Doing Better Business Quad States. 

If you have no plans for this New Years Eve and want a fun way to start off the year, make sure to stop by this year’s Doughnut Drop!

Touche Touchet Bakery By: Trisha Hande

Are you looking for somewhere to go that will feed your desire for sweet confections? Does the familiar feeling of freshly-baked sweets and cakes hold a special place in your heart? Do you reminisce over the memories of the holidays when the nostalgic aromas of cinnamon, ginger, and peppermint fill your senses? If so, you may want to try going to Touche Touchet Bakery located in the Atholton shopping center.

As soon as you enter the bakery, you are greeted by a shelf which displays vibrant and glittery sleighs. Inside the sleighs are bags of holiday cookies, which you can buy as a gift or just for yourself. In the other corner of the bakery sits a petite Christmas tree decorated with “ornaments,” which are goodie bags displaying their different holiday cookies. In front of that, all of the wonderful baked goods on the menu are showcased. They have a very wide variety; from cupcakes, cookies, pastries, pies, sandwiches, and much more, you will definitely have no problem finding something right up your alley.

Belinda, the manager of the bakery, explained that every month the bakery produces a “cupcake of the month.” For December, they are planning to create peppermint cupcakes for the holidays.

 She also showed me the designs of the holiday cookies, which included Santa and penguin cookies. Belinda recommended the red velvet and caramel cupcakes, stating that they were two of the most popular options. Hence, I decided to give those a try as well as their gingerbread cookies. Everything tasted stellar and had the perfect amount of sweetness.

So, if you are in Howard county during the holidays – or just any time – and are looking for a place that has good desserts, then you should definitely treat yourself to Touche Touchet bakery.

Symphony Of Lights By: Kennedy Burnett

When you first enter the entryway into the wintry land called the Symphony of Lights, you are welcomed by an extraordinary collection of radiant masterpieces consisting of more than 300,000 twinkling lights. These vibrant guides illuminate a path for you to properly prepare you for your eye-opening excursion. It’s rumored that within the maze of lights, awaits another surprise, a mystery, waiting to be cracked. Families of all shapes and sizes are racing to the courtyard of Merriweather Post Pavilion to get their chance at finding the secret phrase hidden in its chambers. 

The Symphony of Lights has been a Howard County Holiday Tradition for over 25 years. This family oriented event gives children and adults alike something to look forward to for the holiday season. The Symphony of Lights features a load of fun activities to get families in the Christmas spirit. All of these activities, however, are centered around the main event: the extravagant Symphony of Lights display. There are drive throughs, walk throughs, and the one night special event called Tail Lights, which is a night specifically designed for dog owners to enjoy light creations with their furry friends. 

The Symphony of Lights also houses the popular “Find the Secret Phrase,” where one must find the hidden letters in the display and unscramble them to find the secret phrase. Winners will be announced on December 16th and January 4th. The prizes for the contest include four free lawn tickets to any 2023 concert at Merriweather Post Pavilion, a one night stay at Columbia’s newest luxury hotel “Merriweather Lakehouse,” or a $150 gift card to Lāk Columbia. 

Most importantly, Symphony of lights tickets can be purchased online or in person, although it is recommended that they are paid for in advance. All proceedings from this event will go to Howard County General Hospital and Downtown Columbia Arts and Culture Commission. Remember, if you or your family are interested in the Symphony of Lights, this festive event is currently open and will stay open to the public until January 1st. 

Toby’s Dinner By: Rye Bean

It’s a cold windy day. It’s so cold, you can even see your own breath. Your hands are freezing and you don’t want to be outside anymore. You see Toby’s Dinner Theater and decide to go check it out. You walk in the doors and you are greeted with festive holiday decorations. 

Frank Capra’s 1946 movie “It’s a Wonderful Life” has become one of the most beloved films ever produced in Hollywood. In the movie, a good-hearted but frustrated everyman, George Bailey, is suddenly faced with the prospect of financial ruin. Driven to despair, George stands on a bridge, contemplating ending his life and praying for divine help. This help arrives, albeit in unexpected form, a bumbling angel, named Clarence. He shows George what life in his town would have been like had he never been born, causing George to see not only his value to others, but also to fully appreciate his own life. 

This holiday season, Toby’s Dinner Theatre presents us with its own gift to our region, “It’s a Wonderful Life.” The play, which is based on the popular film, was written in the late 1980s. 

Justin Calhoun and Marykate Brouillet portray George and Mary Bailey. Calhoun is an energetic George, showing both his good character and also his impetuous side. Robert Biedermann is delightfully horrid as the evil Mr. Potter. His signature song, “It’s Time To Get Back Down To Business,” sung with a group of fellow bankers, is terrific. While the show is very faithful to the movie—indeed, producer Mark Minnick informs us that Toby consulted Frank Capra’s daughters during the writing of the script there are some modifications from the original. As already mentioned, the musical expands the role of the angels. We also learn a bit more about George Bailey. While George is facing a very real problem with his faltering savings and loan and the delightfully evil Mr. Potter, there is a second issue as well. George has spent most of his adult life holding others and family at arm’s length as he frets about his personal sacrifices and lost dreams. The play runs for about 2 hours and 45 minutes with a 15 minute intermission. It’s truly a wonderful life at Toby’s Dinner Theater during the holiday season.

Posted by Natalie Zepf

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