When temperatures dip well below freezing, most of us find excuses to stay inside. These Appleton, WI, neighbors have the opposite idea. Welcome to the coolest dinner party around.
Twenty years ago, Charles McKee stood under a winter full moon on the backyard skating rink he’d created for his four daughters and had a brilliant idea. “It was the most Zen garden feeling out on the ice,” he says. “I thought, Wouldn’t it be fun to throw a party here?” The next month he gathered 30 neighbors for a Moon Over Ice (skating) party, and a tradition was born.
Generations of friends and neighbors now take turns organizing the event. A roaring fire inside and a chiminea near the hockey benches ward off chills. But the point of the party is to take a break from being inside during the long winter months, spend time skating together, and enjoy a meal with friends. The group doesn’t merely embrace the cold, they celebrate it. Candles twinkle in DIY ice lanterns, branches stand in snow-filled vases, and Champagne chills in powdery drifts. On the menu, if it isn’t on the rocks (chilled shrimp or aquavit served in tiny glasses made of ice) then it’s winter white— white lasagna and White Russians. The McKees lay down thick vintage rugs over part of their rink then set out a long line of tables there. Guests skate the rink perimeter until it’s time to take a seat for dinner.
CRANBERRIES,EVERGREENCLIPPINGS, ANDJUNIPER BERRIESARE FROZENINTO THELUMINARIAS.
RUGS CREATEA STABLE SURFACEFOR THECHAIRS ANDTABLES BROUGHTBY GUESTS.