WENATCHEE — For the first time ever, the National Showcase figure skating competition is coming to Wenatchee. The Wenatchee Figure Skating Club has been working for three years to bring this to town.
“US Figure Skating rewarded the Wenatchee Figure Skating Club to host this event for the first time,” said Competition Co-Chairman France Bedard. “It is a big deal. We’re pretty excited. We have 450 skaters coming out of everywhere in the United States. There are 220 coaches plus the parents. We’re pretty excited to welcome all these people.”
The National Showcase is not your typical figure skating competition. Unlike judges skaters on their technical skill, these skaters are judged on their creativity, costumes, and choreography.
The competition is run in a different way, France said.
“It’s the entertainment part of it. The skaters are performing a song and choreographed number. They have props. There are individuals, duets, mini productions of 3-7 skaters and the production ensembles which are 8-30 skaters,” she said.
There will be 26 judges at the competition, from all over the United States. To participate, skaters must have placed first to fourth at a qualifying competition. There are singles competitors, preliminary through senior, Adult Bronze through Adult Masters.
“The Wenatchee Figure Skating Club actually has two teams that will perform and compete. Every time they have competed in the NW Pacific, they won first place. We are pretty excited for them. We’re looking forward to them performing at the national level,” Bedard said.
The Wenatchee Figure Skating Club’s mini-ensemble will perform “London Sky,” set to the music of Mary Poppins Returns. That performance is at 6:50 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 3.
Their large production group will perform “Under the Big Top,” set to the music of The Greatest Showman on Sunday at 2:30 p.m. on the final day of the competition.
“There’s a creativity aspect. The costumes are a big part of it. The props on the ice support the performance. To be able to deliver the song. They are being judged on that,” Bedard said. “The judges are looking at the attention to detail for the whole thing, costumes, songs, choreography, and performance on the ice. The hope is to really engage the judges.”
Bedard attended the National Showcase last year in Michigan. She said it was fun to see all the different numbers by the skaters. The entertainment light but also dramatic. It’s very interpretive and fun to watch, Bedard said.
The planning for the event has been a challenge.
“We had to plan for the hotels. A lot of them are coming Tuesday until Monday morning. We’re a small area, not like a big town with the airport right next to everything,” she said. “It’s a challenge for them to travel. They are excited to come. We have a great facility to host this kind of event. We have space, and two sheets of ice.”
Wenatchee was able to land this event for a number of reasons, she said, most notably the facility, the Town Toyota Center.
“The Wenatchee Figure Skating Club has hosted Regional Competitions in the past. We look good because we’re able to pull the resources to make it happen,” she said.
The competition is on Friday and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., Sunday, from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.