Posted with permission from NJ.com
An ariel view of Pier Village (Photo provided by Kushner Companies and Extell Development Company)

LONG BRANCH - Pier Village has no trouble attracting crowds during the summer months.

The chic beachfront mixed-used development has become one of the most popular destinations for beachgoers and other visitors to the Jersey Shore since it opened in 2005.

This winter, however, Kushner Companies - which owns Pier Village - is going to try something new to bring even more visitors to the city's beachfront during the colder months.

Starting Thanksgiving weekend and running through President's Day, an open-air ice skating rink made out of real ice will be open to visitors at Pier Village's Festival Plaza, which is the circular grassy area in the middle of the development.

Kushner hopes that the ice rink will compliment Pier Village's existing Christmas tree lighting and New Year's Eve events.

"Pier Village is already an off-season destination for its events, businesses and amazing restaurants. And now we're really excited to kick our winter festivities into high gear by bringing ice skating to Festival Plaza," said Karen Zabarsky, creative director for Kushner Companies.

The ice rink is scheduled to be open to the public Thursday through Sunday, but Zabarsky said the company also plans to make the rink available for private parties and events Monday through Wednesday.

The 50 ft. x 80 ft. ice rink will offer skate rentals for $4 and tickets for admission will be $12 for the general public and $8 for children under the age of 12.

"It's very special to have an outdoor ice skating rink on the oceanfront, it's not something that you see a lot," said Zabarsky, adding corporate sponsorship opportunities are available for the rink.

"This is really going to add to the festival atmosphere at Pier Village," she added. "And by being on the ocean with its spectacular views and in an area that already draws people, this is going to create an amazing atmosphere and I think it will be something that our retailers, the local community and our visitors will enjoy immensely.

For more information on the ice skating rink at Pier Village, including hours of operation, visit: www.iceatthepier.com.

Rob Spahr may be reached at rspahr@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @TheRobSpahr. Find NJ.com on Facebook.