Delaware River Waterfront Winterfest

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.

Waterfront 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


Pier 68 Fishing Pier Coming Soon

New fishing pier coming to South Philadelphia

Pier 68 will become a public fishing pier under a plan being developed by The Delaware River Waterfront Corporation (DRWC). An RFP has been issued seeking designers and builders for the pier, which DRWC acquired about a year and a half ago, along with several other piers in South Philadelphia behind the Walmart and Home Depot. There is a very strong demand for fishing access on the waterfront and other recreational activities such as launching kayaks, may also become part of the plan, according to the DRWC

An RFP calls for places to temporarily dock small boats, fish-cleaning stations, the creation of wetlands. It also asks for the creation of on-line or mobile methods for people to interact with the park. DRWC will interview potential firms next month, with the goal of the board awarding a contract in December.

DRWC Vice President for Marketing, Programming and Corporate Partnerships Jodie Milkman said the goal is to have the park done by the second week of next August, when a Bassmaster Fishing Tournament will be held in Philadelphia, on the Delaware River. DRWC is in discussions with the tournament to hold it at Penn’s Landing, she said. The fishing pier could also get national television exposure.

DRWC has about $750,000 to do the Pier 68 project now, and Woods said it can be done very well within that budget, but more funds are being sought that would allow for more options. One possibility: Sponsorships by fishing gear companies. Another possibility: Using some of the $5 million the William Penn Foundation just donated to DRWC. See