In celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Independence Blue Cross (IBC) RiverRink, the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation (DRWC) has planned Waterfront Winterfest, complete with a winter garden and forest, restaurant lodge, holiday art market and boutique, light show, rotating entertainment schedule and, of course, the city’s only Olympic-sized ice rink at Penn’s Landing from Nov. 29 through Jan. 5.
DRWC reached out to Philadelphia’s own talent pool. David Fierabend of Groundswell Design Group designed the 500-person warming tent and the seasonal winter garden. Favorite Philadelphia chef George Sabatino will be cooking up his new takes on winter classics at The Lodge, Winterfest’s temporary restaurant. Old City’s Art Star Gallery and Boutique has curated the holiday market, and Ricardo Rivera of Klip Collective has arranged an hourly holiday light show using his video projection mapping techniques.
DRWC also partnered the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS). Some of the shipping containers, tables, rustic seating and other furniture that were used in the PHS Pop Up Garden are being recycled and used as part of the Waterfront Winterfest winter garden.
This is the fifth year DRWC is hosting two New Year’s Eve firework shows – one at 6pm and another at midnight. According to Milkman, adding the second show more than doubled the fireworks’ economic impact on area hotels and restaurants.
In May, DRWC received a $310,000 ArtPlace grant to place-make and activate the Delaware River waterfront by turning the Penn’s Landing Boat Basin into a waterfront “River Stage” complete with programming. While DRWC is still working out the details for that project, which is scheduled for this coming summer, they realized that some of the capital investments they were making for the Art Place program could be pre-used for Winterfest.
Location: Penn’s Landing, 101 S. Columbus Blvd, on Columbus Boulevard at Market Street
Dates: November 29 – January 5
Times: 11am – 1am daily; 1pm – 9pm Christmas Eve & Christmas Day
Cost: Waterfront Winterfest Admission: Free; Skating prices: Admission $3 (free Monday – Thursday before 5pm, December 2 – 19), Skate Rental $10, Parking Monday – Thursday $12, Parking Friday – Sunday $15
Special events: Opening Day, November 29; Christmas Tree Lighting, December 6; Parties on Ice, December 31; New Year’s Eve Fireworks, December 31