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. Follow him on Instagram



Leave a Reply

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

Recent Posts
Beloved South Street Landmark To Be Demolished And Rebuilt

Beloved South Street Landmark To Be Demolished And Rebuilt

February 23, 2018  |  News

Charged with the financial burden of a fire-damaged restaurant on South Street, owners of Bridget Foy’s make plans to rebuild. Starr Herr-Cardillo has the story > more

Hidden City Wants YOU To Join The Conversation

Hidden City Wants YOU To Join The Conversation

February 22, 2018  |  Buzz

Attention: The Hidden City Daily is looking for writers. Gather your best ideas, and pitch a story today! > more

On The Hunt For Brains, Discovering The Wistar Institute

On The Hunt For Brains, Discovering The Wistar Institute

February 21, 2018  |  Vantage

Mickey Herr dissects the origins of the Wistar Institute and examines the brain of a man that turned the medical world on its head > more

Trading Brake Pads For Ballet Slippers On South Broad Street

Trading Brake Pads For Ballet Slippers On South Broad Street

February 19, 2018  |  The Shadow Knows

The Shadow waltzes through the history of an old auto dealership in South Philly that has been a hub of classical dance training for over 30 years > more

Riding The Rails On Pennsylvania's Original Turnpike

Riding The Rails On Pennsylvania’s Original Turnpike

February 16, 2018  |  Harry K's Encyclopedia

As Phase One of the Reading Viaduct Rail Park sets to open this spring, Harry K. takes us on a ride along the Philadelphia & Columbia Railroad, one of the earliest railroads in America > more

New Schuylkill River Trail Extension Now Open

New Schuylkill River Trail Extension Now Open

February 15, 2018  |  Buzz

Michael Bixler takes us on a stroll down the newest segment of the Schuylkill River Trail > more