After two years, Baptist has cancelled its Christmas on Ice event for the forseeable future.
After two years, Baptist has cancelled its Christmas on Ice event for the forseeable future.
MADISON - Christmas has been cancelled - well, sort of.

Baptist Health Systems announced last week that after two years, Christmas on Ice has been cancelled due to financial losses.

Baptist officials declined to comment on the decision, instead referring reporters to a press release.

"Christmas on Ice provided a wonderful opportunity for Baptist to give back to the families in our community," said Chris Anderson, President and CEO of Baptist Health Systems, in a press release.

"Having ice skating in Mississippi drew large crowds the first year we opened. Last year, however, there were twenty-one days when rain prevented the skating rink from opening."

Because the majority of those rainy days occurred on weekends and over the Thanksgiving holiday, Anderson explained that both attendance and income were negatively affected for 2013.

"After much discussion with everyone involved we have determined that Baptist Health Systems should not make the financial commitment required to continue this event," Anderson continued.

Madison Mayor Mary Hawkins-Butler said, "Madison was blessed to have the event sponsored by Baptist for two years. This was something that they offered to promote Baptist Health Systems, and of course, it was a lot of wonderful, positive press for Baptist."

She added, "It was a lot of fun for children not just in Madison but all over the state. We all wish that it was something Baptist could have benefited from and could have continued into the future."

According to Anderson, one of Baptist's core values is stewardship.

"At Baptist, we define stewardship as using our resources and talents responsibly to optimize value for our patients," Anderson said in the press release on Aug. 1.

"In this ever-changing environment of healthcare reform and decreasing reimbursement for services rendered, we believe the dollars spent on Christmas on Ice can be better utilized maintaining the high standard care for which Baptist has received national recognition."

Before the cancellation was announced to the public, efforts were made to gain additional support from past sponsors and other community businesses.

Many local groups, who would usually participate in community events of this type, said that they could not do so because of prior commitments.