The only association that usually comes to mind when hearing the words “winter” and “fish” is, maybe, the image of a bundled-up fisherman freezing his bass off by a hole cut in an ice-covered lake.
But this weekend, those two words will take on an association few of us have ever seen when the aquarium artisans behind the TV reality show “Tanked” bring their talents to Henderson’s WinterFest celebration.
Wayde King and Brett Raymer, owners of Las Vegas-based Acrylic Tank Manufacturing and the show’s stars, have created a custom-made, Christmas-themed tank that will be on display throughout WinterFest, which begins Thursday evening and runs through Saturday at the Henderson Convention Center and Events Plaza.
This year’s edition of WinterFest will be a festive finale to Henderson’s yearlong celebration of its 60th anniversary. And, as always, it will offer “a little bit of everything for everybody for the holidays,” Henderson spokeswoman Nicole Johnson said.
The theme of this year’s WinterFest is “An Old-Fashioned Christmas Delight,” and the event will include such retro-traditional touches as horse-drawn carriage rides, gingerbread houses, a petting zoo, and a Festival of Trees display.
Also, “we’re tying in some new traditions,” Johnson said.
Like, for instance, that custom-made fish tank.
Best of all, it’s all free, Johnson said. “So this is just the thing for anybody who’s looking for something to do during the holidays.”
The celebration begins at 7 p.m. Thursday when the Henderson Symphony Orchestra presents “Sounds of the Season” at Henderson Convention Center.
Friday’s entertainment schedule includes performances on the Amphitheater Stage by the Silverado High School Madrigal Choir (5 p.m.), and Coronado High School and Scofield Middle School choirs (6:30 p.m.). In between, at 6 p.m. Mayor Andy Hafen will preside over the tree lighting ceremony. Other WinterFest activities will run from 7 to 9 p.m. Friday.
On Saturday, WinterFest activities will run from noon to 8 p.m. Scheduled for Saturday on the Amphitheater Stage are performers from Desert Dynamite (noon), Bel Canto Choir Serenading Eagles (1 p.m.), Broadway West (1:30 p.m.), Fern Adair Conservatory of the Arts (2 p.m.), B Sharp School of Dance (2:30 p.m.) and Astudia Dance World (3 p.m.).
Also Saturday, the Atlantic Stage will host a roster of groups that includes Green Valley Baptist Church (11:45 a.m.) and the Henderson Youth Ballet (12:15 p.m.).
Johnson said WinterFest’s “the creme de la creme” event — or, in this instance, maybe the egg nog de la egg nog event? — comes at 5 p.m. Saturday with the WinterFest Evening Light Parade at Henderson Convention Center, which will feature about 75 floats decked out in lights and holiday finery.
Meanwhile, the “Tanked” aquarium will be on display inside the Henderson Convention Center throughout the run of WinterFest. (Those who can’t see it this weekend can check out the “Tanked” holiday special, which runs at 10 p.m. Thursday on Discovery Channel and at 9 p.m. Dec. 20 on Animal Planet.)
Raymer and King got involved after a call from Hafen, who, according to Raymer, said he wanted to do “something special” for WinterFest that would commemorate the conclusion of Henderson’s yearlong anniversary celebration.
The result: Their custom-made, holiday-themed aquarium resembling an oversized snow globe. It’s not giving too much away to note that the aquarium itself is about 4-feet-by-4 feet, with the installation’s total height hitting about 10 feet, with a specially created Christmas tree and presents inside.
Raymer said the WinterFest aquarium holds about 250 gallons of water, that it took more than 100 hours to build, and that it would have a monetary value of “40 or 50 grand.”
That’s all pretty impressive, but here’s what makes Raymer’s and King’s creation brilliant: 300 swimming white goldfish provide the snow globe aquarium with its snow.
Raymer said the aquarium will be on display at Acrylic Tank Manufacturing in Las Vegas after it leaves WinterFest (visit www.acrylicaquariums.com). He noted, too, that the WinterFest aquarium is the second holiday-themed aquarium the company has created.
But, he added, being part of WinterFest is “awesome. We like giving back.”
Johnson said that, in previous years, WinterFest has attracted as many as 20,000 guests during its three-day run.
“A lot of people have made it a tradition every year,” she said, just as they have made it a holiday tradition to see the holiday cactus garden at Ethel M and make a jaunt to Lake Las Vegas to ice skate.
The only thing WinterFest lacks?
“It’s too bad,” Johnson said, “that you can’t bring in snow just for the day.”
Contact reporter John Przybys at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0280.