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
Sharswood Tour Spotlights African American Landmark

Sharswood Tour Spotlights African American Landmark

February 19, 2019  |  News

Efforts to save the former home and studio of Philadelphia Black Renaissance artist Dox Thrash will take center stage with a neighborhood tour and discussion. Kessler Thibert has the story > more

Exhuming A Pyramid Of Petrol Along The

Exhuming A Pyramid Of Petrol Along The “Golden Mile”

February 15, 2019  |  Vantage

Greg Prichard takes us on a suburban expedition to find Vincent Kling's lost, modernist gas station on City Avenue > more

Conkling-Armstrong House & Jewelers Row District Go Before Designation Committee

Conkling-Armstrong House & Jewelers Row District Go Before Designation Committee

February 12, 2019  |  News

Starr Herr-Cardillo has this roundup of local register nominations on the agenda at the February meeting of the Philadelphia Historical Commission's Designation Committee > more

Under Construction: Charles Library At Temple University

Under Construction: Charles Library At Temple University

February 8, 2019  |  Last Light

Something Snøhetta this ways comes. Michael Bixler takes us to the quad at Temple University where its new library is currently taking shape > more

A Life Of Community Service For Theaters In North Philly

A Life Of Community Service For Theaters In North Philly

February 6, 2019  |  Vantage

The legendary Uptown Theater is gearing up for its 90th anniversary this month with a new fundraising campaign and the lighting of its original marquee. To mark the occasion, cinema scholar Joan McGettigan gives us a social history lesson on the neighborhood movie houses near North Broad Street > more

Archaic Expectations: Freeing Female Roles From A Dollhouse In Society Hill

Archaic Expectations: Freeing Female Roles From A Dollhouse In Society Hill

February 1, 2019  |  Vantage

In this essay Mickey Herr examines women's roles and social norms through the history of a dollhouse spanning seven generations > more