With Winterfest slated to begin on the evening of November 23, 2012, workers have been busy making Christmas out of Bushnell Park.
Despite taking about an hour to create this pile, workers invited me to jump in. I declined.
Leaf removal alone has taken several days.
Debris removal is only part of the effort to ready the park. Final touches are being placed on the ice rink, while lights and booths are reinstalled.
Signage looking far less bootleg than what was used last year has been installed around Bushnell Park. It may seem like a small detail, but investing in better quality signs gives the festival the appearance of not being thrown together at the last minute.
Winterfest was said to have not intended to replace the Festival of Light, but this year, there are no lights to be found on Constitution Plaza. Between the extraordinary number of vacancies and the construction that has a portion of the raised pedestrian walkway closed, it’s just as well.
Winterfest will begin with a procession from the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Arch to the ice rink at 5:15 on Friday evening. This will be immediately followed by a ribbon cutting and free ice skating.
As part of the opening day activities, there will be free photos with Santa from 6-7p.m. The Bushnell Park carousel will be operating from 4-9; tours of the Arch will run from 3-5, before the procession. Shag Frenzy DJs will provide the music for a dance party on the rink at 8 that night. Skates and shoes are welcome, but not heels.
After the opening day, free skating will be permitted from noon until 8p.m. on Sundays through Thursdays; on Fridays and Saturdays, you can skate from noon until 9p.m. Free skate rentals will be available. The rink will close on January 21, 2013.
If you miss Santa on the opening night, he will be on site for photos every Saturday and Sunday from noon until 3, through December 23rd. The carousel will be running on Saturdays and Sundays from 11a.m. to 7p.m. through December 30th.
This year, there will be firewood, trees, and wreaths for sale. Firewood will be sold only on Fridays and Saturdays, but the trees and wreaths will be sold daily.