It May Be 60 Degrees, But Winter (Fests) Are Coming


Rendering of Pop-Up Waterfront Winterfest | Image courtesy of DRWC

Rendering of Pop-Up Waterfront Winterfest | Image courtesy of DRWC

As workers last weekend were installing holiday light balls in Rittenhouse Square, plans were being finalized for two new winter themed installations: an “Electrical Spectacle” light show in Franklin Square “sparked by Benjamin Franklin’s imagination,” according to the press release, and Waterfront Winterfest, on the Delaware River, a pop-up outdoor “holiday village” that will envelope the usual Independence Blue Cross skating rink with a restaurant, boutique, sculptural forest, and video projected light show.

At Franklin Square, each night, two alternating seven minute light shows–accompanying a giant illuminated kite and key–will run four times each beginning at 4:30PM on November 14. The shows will be accompanied by music of the Philly Pops under the direction of emeritus director Peter Nero and remixed by Starchild Excalibur.

The folks at the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation partnered with restauranteur George Sabatino, the innovators of Northern Liberties-based Art Star, and David Fierabend of Groundswell Design Group to create a special winter experience open daily from 11AM-1AM starting November 29. The light show, according to the Waterfront Corporation’s communications manager Emma Fried-Cassorla, will feature “Klip Collective’s patented projection-mapping technology under the direction of Ricardo Rivera, a visual artist, filmmaker, and pioneer of video projection mapping.” The show, with elements of hip hop and holiday kitsch, will be projected on Fierabend’s holiday garden every hour on the hour from 5-11PM.

Both the installations will certainly help to enliven the experience of Philadelphia during the winter night–an urbanist challenge we haven’t yet quite tackled (while a city like Montreal, much out of necessity, has long figured this out). They’re unfortunately limited, though. The Franklin Square light spectacle runs only through New Year’s Eve, just at the moment real winter begins. And on the Delaware, Winterfest goes only until January 5th. Skating continues, however, until March 2.

For more information on Franklin Square’s Electrical Spectacle, click HERE.
For more information on the DRWC’s Winterfest, click HERE.

About the author

Nathaniel Popkin is co-editor of the Hidden City Daily and author of three books of non-fiction, including the forthcoming Philadelphia: Finding the Hidden City (Temple Press) and a novel, Lion and Leopard (The Head and the Hand Press). He is the senior writer of the film documentary "Philadelphia: The Great Experiment."

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