Hoffman’s Chocolates opens annual Winter Wonderland


Holiday lights glistened in the background and the moon sparkled above 13-year-old Isabella Paciletti as she zipped around an outdoor ice-skating rink at Saturday’s opening of Hoffman’s Chocolates’ 27th Annual Winter Wonderland.

“It’s fun to have the rink outside in Florida since it’s not that cold,” Isabella, of Greenacres, said catching her breath as she stepped off the ice. “It’s a very fun experience.”

Officials from Hoffman’s and the Florida Panthers cut the ribbon in front of the Panthers in Palm Beach Ice Skating Rink, which is the latest addition to the Winter Wonderland. The 2,400-square-foot rink, which is kept at 32 degrees, drew about 40 people within the first hour of opening.

“It was definitely a risky decision to do this, but we worked hard and the product is good,” said Grant Levins, the outdoor rink manager. “The people love it and come back happy.”

This year there are more than 125,000 LED lights illuminating arctic scenes of polar bears and penguins, a nativity scene, several Christmas trees, a glowing Hanukkah display and more.


Check out this 360 video of Hoffman's Winter Wonderland!

“The lights are amazing,” exclaimed 4-year-old Emma Busekrus, of Coconut Creek. “That was my first favorite thing about today.” Emma’s mom, Amy, added that she and her family have been coming for the past five years, and every year it “gets better.”

Besides more lights and the rink, Hoffman’s added food vendors so patrons can enjoy a variety of snacks in between skating and light-gazing.

“It’s our first time here, but we saw the event on Facebook,” said Heather Robinson, of West Palm Beach. “We love it. It’s been great and [my daughter] loves the lights.”

While the opening night drew a couple hundred people, regional vice president of Hoffman’s Chocolates, Randall Vitale, says they are expecting a lot more people as the holiday season nears and with Santa and Mrs. Claus making their debut on Friday.

“I think tonight is a little early for some to be thinking about Christmas. As soon as Thanksgiving is over, though, it’s a hundred miles per hour here,” said Vitale. “This is a gift for us and to the community. We are so happy to do it every year.”

Hoffman’s Winter Wonderland is open through Dec. 30, except on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. Admission is free.




Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

Trump in Palm Beach: President expected to leave Palm Beach mid-afternoon
Trump in Palm Beach: President expected to leave Palm Beach mid-afternoon

Good morning. It’s 75 degrees at Mar-a-Lago under partly cloudy skies. Thunderstorms are expected today with a high of 81 degrees. Here’s a look at Mar-a-Lago. The president has no official events on his schedule. He is expected to leave Palm Beach and return to Washington, DC at about 2:30 p.m. The Southern Boulevard Bridge and roads near...
What is Earth Day? 5 things to know
What is Earth Day? 5 things to know

Sunday is Earth Day 2018, and more than one billion people across the globe are expected to celebrate with environmentally friendly events. But what exactly is Earth Day? Here's what you need to know: >> Read more trending news  The first Earth Day celebration took place 48 years ago, in 1970, after a devastating oil spill in America brought...
Palm Beach County Fire Rescue getting younger, chief says
Palm Beach County Fire Rescue getting younger, chief says

Matt Gaffney, district chief of Palm Beach County Fire Rescue, was a guest speaker at Tuesday’s Lake Worth Commission meeting, giving his annual update. Last year, Gaffney said Fire Rescue received 8,952 emergency calls. Of those, 7,405 were medical and 155 were fires. For the past five years, Fire Rescue has seen an increase of about 600 calls...
Opinion: Playboy comes to D.C.

Playboy Enterprises just announced that it has purchased a table at this year’s White House Correspondents Association dinner. Swell. Just what we need. The dinner, as you’ve probably heard, is an annual ritual of narcissism in which leading press figures don black tie and hope to see, or better yet, be seen with, Hollywood stars. Like...
UPDATE: Owner accused of elderly abuse at assisted living home near West Palm
UPDATE: Owner accused of elderly abuse at assisted living home near West Palm

The owner of an assisted living facility  in a suburban West Palm Beach neighborhood was arrested and accused of mistreating the elderly residents, according to the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office.  A judge ordered Bhoodram Parsaram, 52, be held at the county jail on a $2,000 bond Saturday morning on charges of abuse of an elderly...
More Stories