Put the family on ice: Country star Sara Evans, Olympic champs to headline family ice-skating event

For the CDTNovember 1, 2013 

  • if you go

    What and when: SkateFest, 4:30-6 p.m. Nov. 1; Musselman’s Applesauce Family Skating Tribute, 5 p.m. Nov. 3

    Where: Pegula Ice Arena, University Park

    Info: www.gopsusports.com/pegulaicearena

The State College community will be treated to some family entertainment, as country music superstar Sara Evans and a plethora of Olympic figure-skating champions and their children will headline the Musselman’s Applesauce Family Skating Tribute this weekend at Penn State’s new Pegula Ice Arena.

An award-winning country music singer-songwriter, Evans will perform live in the family-themed show, hosted by skating champions (and parents) Kristi Yamaguchi and Michael Weiss. The event also will feature Olympic gold medalists Ilia Kulik and Ekaterina Gordeeva, as well as numerous world champions and Olympic medalists, including Paul Wylie, Todd Eldredge, Kurt Browning, Irina Slutskaya, Isabelle Brasseur, Rocky Marval, Silvia Fontana and John Zimmerman. All of the featured performers will be joined by their children in the show.

Evans has become one of country music’s biggest stars, winning numerous accolades, including the Academy of Country Music’s top female vocalist honor in 2006 and the Country Music Association’s video of the year award for “Born to Fly.” She has received several CMA and ACM nominations; scored three certified platinum albums, including 2000’s “Born to Fly,” “Restless” in 2003 and “Real Fine Place” in 2005; and earned five No. 1 singles on the Hot Country Songs chart. In addition to her numerous musical achievements, Evans also was named one of People magazine’s “50 Most Beautiful People.”

Evans’ seventh studio recording, “Slow Me Down,” is set for release in March, featuring the hit title track. She discussed the reward of the recording process: “It’s fun just to be in there all day, to be creating that music and working on a new project.”

But she admitted that leaving the family homestead is one of the hardest parts of her career.

“Sometimes I’ll get really down about having to travel to do a show, especially if I have to fly somewhere,” she said. “Sometimes I don’t want to go; I don’t want to leave home. But every single night after the performance, I’m so happy. So during the performance, I then realize the hard part is just leaving home. But it is so fun and so rewarding once I finally get to the stage.”

Life on the road can be tough for anyone, but raising a family at the same time can become difficult to adapt to.

“Touring during the school year and doing weekend shows can be challenging because if I have a Friday night show, I have to fly to whatever city on Friday morning,” Evans said. “But the kids still have to go to school, so they’ll have to catch up with me on Saturday. But I have a limit of three days. I don’t like to ever go more than three days without being home with them.”

The event will be broadcast nationally at 4 p.m. Nov. 24 on NBC. Following the initial telecast, the show will be broadcast on AXS TV and streamed on IceNetwork.com for six months following the initial telecast on NBC.

“I’ll be performing all my hits to the skaters; and obviously we’ll be doing the new single, which is ‘Slow Me Down’,” Evans said.

Having been a performer on “Dancing with the Stars,” Weekender had to ask Evans: Will you be skating?

“No, but I’m sure my girls will want to. I can ice skate, you know — like everybody else,” she said with a laugh. “I’m a good athlete, so I will say that. I play a lot of sports. So it might be a little helpful, but I still would probably fall if I ice skated.”

Dust off the skates

Prior to the Nov. 3 show will be a free event open to all ages. On Nov. 1, U.S. Figure Skating, Disson Skating and the Penn State Figure Skating Club will host SkateFest. The event will provide two 30-minute group lessons, followed by a 15-minute open skate, which will include a group photo and prize giveaways. During the group lessons, celebrity skaters from the Musselman ice show will float between groups to offer encouragement to the skaters. Participants will be registered on a first-come, first-serve basis, with only 100 skaters allowed per session.

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