Seduced By Winterfest

 

Winterfest header

Five paths to leisure at Winterfest | Photo: Michael Bixler

The Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest at Penns Landing officially opens today at 11AM and, frankly, we are smitten with the place. A post-Thanksgiving tradition since 1993, for the second year in a row, the riverside ice skating rink features a brilliant, cold weather pop-up forest courtesy of the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation. Not resting on their heels after the sweeping success of Spruce Street Harbor Park this summer—reviewed HERE by HC Daily Co-editor Nathaniel Popkin–the DRWC’s Winterfest addition to the rink delivers above and beyond in design, amenities, and flair. There are roaring chiminea fires (and a squad of staff feeding the flames), a pleasant holiday light show every 30 minutes, a Distro Cantina food truck and Jose Garces catering inside, two outdoor craft beer stations and a bar with hot beverages and cocktails, a mini arcade and indoor bier garden, a swanky ski lodge with cushy couches and fireplace mantles salvaged from the Divine Lorraine, shipping containers filled with Art Star handmades and crafts, blankets made from recycled sweaters strewn across almost every chair, and, of course, ice skating. Unlike the rink’s drab old days when you almost wanted to leave as soon as you arrived, the DRWC and designer David Fierabend–the mind behind Spruce Street Harbor Park whom we interviewed in July–are dead set on wooing Winterfest visitors, making sure they pull up to the fire pit and stay a while. If the Anthropologie-meets-LL Bean aesthetic and the long list of flattering attractions is any indication, they will succeed.

We attended their preview this past Tuesday night and, even after three hours, were hesitant to leave. With the Ben Franklin Bridge elegantly glowing in the background, the peaceful, nighttime serenity of the Delaware River lumbering by, and Old City peeking up from behind I-95, you could not trump it’s visual appeal. The symphony of portside landmarks converging with the garden’s glimmering string-lighting, rustic cabin embellishments, and blazing outdoor hearths was truly enchanting. It’s hard to believe that nine months out of the year this spot serves as a lifeless parking lot. Aside from being exquisitely forward-thinking in design and execution, the pop-up forest is a pitch-perfect balance of family friendliness and adult appeal (see: fire, food, style, and beer). We’re gushing, and unrepentantly so, but until you see it up close you will have to trust us on this. Winterfest is bound to keep the city in warm spirits all winter long.

***

To launch the gallery, click any of the photos below.

About the author

Michael Bixler is a writer, photographer, and managing editor of Hidden City Daily. He is a former arts and entertainment reporter with Mountain Xpress weekly in Asheville, North Carolina and a native of South Carolina. Bixler has a keen interest in adaptive reuse, underappreciated architecture, contemporary literature and art, and forward-thinking dialogue about people and place. mmbixler.tumblr.com

Send a message!



Leave a Reply

Comment moderation is enabled, no need to resubmit any comments posted.

Recent Posts
Without Remediation, Diamond In The Rough A Risky Play

Without Remediation, Diamond In The Rough A Risky Play

September 22, 2017  |  News

How safe is safe enough? Environmental researcher Coryn Wolk explores the potential public health risks at a youth baseball field built on top of an industrial alloy production site surrounded by an oil refining complex > more

Wayne Junction Moves Forward With Revitalization

Wayne Junction Moves Forward With Revitalization

September 20, 2017  |  News

Developer Ken Weinstein unveils transit-oriented development plans for Wayne Junction district. GroJLart has the story > more

Inside Northeast Philly's Temple Of Ryerss

Inside Northeast Philly’s Temple Of Ryerss

September 19, 2017  |  Harry K's Encyclopedia

Harry K. takes us on a fall field trip to the Ryerss Mansion, an eccentric, little-known house museum in the Great Northeast > more

Unlisted Philadelphia: Locust Theatre

Unlisted Philadelphia: Locust Theatre

September 14, 2017  |  Unlisted Philadelphia

Ben Leech spotlights unique and significant buildings not listed on the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places with his architectural illustration series, Unlisted Philadelphia. In this installment, a marvelous movie house in West Philly > more

Monument Lab: A City-Wide Art Museum That Asks Us To

Monument Lab: A City-Wide Art Museum That Asks Us To “Leave Fingerprints”

September 13, 2017  |  Vantage

We ought to write our own history, say the organizers of Monument Lab, who launch their multi-week public art and civic introspection festival today in the wake of Charlottesville, Dallas, and Durham. Nathaniel Popkin catches up with Monument Lab founder Paul Farber, who asks us all, "What is an appropriate monument for Philadelphia today?" > more

An Original Keeps It Classy On Chestnut Street

An Original Keeps It Classy On Chestnut Street

September 12, 2017  |  The Shadow Knows

From furniture and furnace manufacturing to a 1980s video arcade, 1606 Chestnut Street has kept busy for 127 years. The Shadow has the details on this Center City standout > more