Fans of winter merriment have another reason to celebrate after organizers announced free ice skating for the opening day of the Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest.
Back for its 25th season, RiverRink decided to celebrate its silver anniversary by providing not only free admission to its ice rink, but also skate rentals at no cost. It's all possible thanks to a donation from Independence Blue Cross, RiverRink's sustaining sponsor.
"This is a season of giving, and as the hometown health insurer for 80 years we wanted to give back in a special way on opening day," Independence Blue Cross President and CEO Daniel J. Hilfert said.
As is tradition, Winterfest opening day will be at Penn's Landing on Black Friday, which this year falls on Nov. 23.
People will be able to take advantage of seven different 90-minute skating sessions starting between the 11 a.m. Winterfest opening time Friday and the 1 a.m. closing time Saturday.
But beyond the free opening day skating, Winterfest will once again bring all the trappings of a true winter wonderland to the waterfront, including a massive ice rink, a holiday lodge and plenty of delicious food.
"It's a beautiful addition to the Philadelphia winter season," said Delaware River Waterfront Corp. spokeswoman Emma Fried-Cassorla.
Opening week activities will be capped off by the Holiday Tree Lighting on Friday, Nov. 30, set to take place between 6 and 9 p.m. Fireworks will add an additional magical touch to the tree lighting finale.
Other activities that day include performances by skaters, dancers and singers including Jackie Verna, of "The Voice" fame, "America's Got Talent" winner Bianca Ryan.
WinterFest will be open through March 3, 2019.
NBC10 and Telemundo62 are sponsors of the RiverRink Winterfest.