The 29th Season of Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest officially kicks off on Black Friday, November 25 and will run through March 5, 2023.
To set the tone for the season that is about going all out and rekindling traditions old and new, the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation is hosting a weekend-long Ugly Sweater Contest. Opening weekend festivities will include a prize wheel with giveaways and a special ugly-sweater themed cocktail. There will also be a selfie photo station to capture those ugly sweater looks that guests can share on social media using the hashtag #RiverRinkUglySweater. Winners of the Ugly Sweater Contest will be chosen and announced throughout the weekend on the Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest social media accounts and win a grand prize featuring ice skating tickets and other fun surprises. More details about the Ugly Sweater Contest can be found at riverrink.com. The celebration will round out with pop-up live entertainment including Orchestra 2001 and DJ RocDaSpot presented by the Women’s Coalition for Empowerment on Saturday, November 26 from 7-10pm, and vendors for a Small Business Saturday Market also on November 26.
All of the best Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest traditions will return, from Philadelphia’s only signature outdoor National Hockey League sized ice skating rink with stunning waterfront views, to the 60-foot holiday-lighted Ferris wheel; thousands of sparkling lights; a 37 foot holiday tree; s’mores kits for purchase to cook around the firepits; festive, heated cabins; the return of the indoor lodge, and everyone’s favorite food and drink offerings; this year’s park promises a winter wonderland for cozy and safe gatherings indoors, outdoors, and much more.
Back by popular demand for a second season is FCM’s Black Iron BBQ. Utilizing their 700 pound smoker, guests can expect classic BBQ technique with a twist of Philly flavors – providing the perfect, stick to your ribs comfort foods on those cold days exploring the beautiful waterfront. Signature items such as the pulled pork sandwich and loaded mac and cheese “tots” are sure to please family members of all ages.
Skelly’s Amusements, a wintertime favorite, is cooking up a number of delicious delights, including s’mores kits, hot cocoa, fried Oreos, and funnel cake.
Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest Lodge favorite Chickie’s & Pete’s will return with their signature cheesesteaks, boneless wings, Crabfries®, and more.
Boardwalk games and rides don’t have to end along with summer. Visitors will be able to cozy up with a few extra layers and see all of the sparkling lights from 60 feet above with a ride on the Ferris wheel ($5). Cabin rentals are available for 90 minute increments ($78 for a single – 8 people; $125 for a double – 12 to 15 people). For the third year in a row, firepits can be reserved in advance to ensure a safe and comfortable experience for all ages ($30 for 90 minutes). Cabin and firepits can be reserved at showclix.com/event/winterfest-cabin-and-firepit-rentals-22.
Advanced timed ticketing will be offered for ice skating ($5 skating and $12 skate rental) as well as on site, though ordering tickets in advance is recommended. Great news for Independence Blue Cross cardholders. They will receive free skate admission for themselves and three (3) guests with proof of card, to make it even easier for family and friends to share in festive fun. Tickets can be reserved at https://www.showclix.com/event/-blue-cross-riverrink-winterfest-ice-skating-22-23.
“There is excitement in the air in Philadelphia, and we are thrilled to carry that into our favorite traditions at Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest. This will also be the first Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest season where visitors can benefit from the Delaware River Trail and all of the new ways that they can access the fun and beautiful views,” said Joe Forkin, president of DRWC.
The Holiday Tree Lighting Powered by PECO will take place on Friday, December 2. Details about the star-studded, live-broadcast event on NBC10 to follow.
To add some Flair to the season, the Rivers Casino New Year’s Eve Fireworks on the Waterfront will light up Penn’s Landing on Saturday, December 31 with two shows at 6pm and midnight. DRWC’s signature New Year’s Eve Parties on Ice at Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest will also take place on Saturday, December 31 at 4:30 pm and 10pm respectively. More exciting details, including ticketing information, will be available in the weeks to come at delawareriverwaterfront.com.
Cherry Street Pier will join in on the winter festivities. The annual New Year’s Eve parties at Cherry Street Pier will return on Saturday, December 31 with a Family Party from 5 pm to 7 pm followed by a late-night bash from 10 pm to 1 am for the adults. Shop local this holiday season at Cherry Street Pier. The resident artists will be featured in our holiday gift guide at cherrystreetpier.com, making the Pier a one-stop-shop for purchasing gifts, strolling, dining, taking in art and culture, and ringing in the New Year. Holiday Markets will also occur at Cherry Street Pier December 3, 10, and 17 from 12 pm to 5pm.
Upcoming Cherry Street Pier Exhibitions include:
Test Pattern by Timothy Prettyman: Nov. 4 – 27
Becoming by Marvin Thompson and Jamal Browning (SpArc Services): Nov. 4 – Dec. 25
Cherry Street Pier Artist Exhibition and Gift Guide: Dec. 2 – 25
Artist and Artisans Market from 4pm-9pm: First Fridays
We Are the Seeds Philadelphia (PECO Multicultural Festival): Nov. 18 and 19