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
The Making & Breaking Of The Philadelphia Commercial Museum

The Making & Breaking Of The Philadelphia Commercial Museum

November 14, 2018  |  Vantage

Edward Duffy takes us back when industry, commerce, and foreign trade flooded the halls of the Philadelphia Commercial Museum, the first institution of its kind in the United States > more

Rare Books Department At FLP Examines A City In Transition

Rare Books Department At FLP Examines A City In Transition

November 9, 2018  |  News

Affordable housing, displacement and gentrification, demolition for redevelopment--sounds a lot like today's local headlines, but Philly has been dealing with these issues for decades. This and more is addressed in the new exhibition, "Philadelphia: The Changing City," now on view at the Free Library of Philadelphia. Ali Roseberry-Polier has the review. > more

Dispatch From the Dolomites: Lamenting the Loss of Northern Italy's Philly Twin

Dispatch From the Dolomites: Lamenting the Loss of Northern Italy’s Philly Twin

November 7, 2018  |  Vantage

Contributor Ann de Forest dials home from Italy where she visits a little chapel that, until recently, had a sibling on Christian Street > more

Secluded Stone Stairway On Lincoln Drive Revealed

Secluded Stone Stairway On Lincoln Drive Revealed

November 2, 2018  |  Vantage

A mysterious set of stairs next to Monoshone Creek leads Sharon Barr on a path to uncover its origins > more

The Ghastly Tale Of South Philly’s Cult Of The Holy Ghost

The Ghastly Tale Of South Philly’s Cult Of The Holy Ghost

October 30, 2018  |  Vantage

A secretive cult dedicated to the worship of a Swiss woman met a horrific end in 19th century South Philly. Ryan Briggs unearths the grim details > more

How to Save A Slice Of Neighborhood Green Space

How to Save A Slice Of Neighborhood Green Space

October 25, 2018  |  Walk the Walk

Queen Village resident David O'Donnell is on a mission to fill his neighborhood with verdant pocket parks. He shares his playbook on how to save slivers of green space with HC contributor Joe Brin > more