City Hall Serves as the Centerpiece of Philadelphia’s Holiday Events, Christmas Village Returns to LOVE Park
PHILADELPHIA – Mayor Jim Kenney today kicked off the holiday season in Philadelphia by announcing details of the return of the second annual Philly Holiday Festival Presented by One Liberty Observation Deck and several new events and attractions.
The Philly Holiday Festival encompasses all things holiday throughout Philadelphia and celebrates the city’s “new energy and time-honored traditions.” Holiday festivities begin with the 6abc Thanksgiving Day Parade on Thursday, November 23, and end with the SugarHouse New Year’s Eve Fireworks on the Waterfront on December 31 and the Mummers Parade on Monday, January 1, 2018.
The Philly Holiday Festival Presented by One Liberty Observation Deck is produced in partnership with the City of Philadelphia, Welcome America, Inc. and VISIT PHILADELPHIA, with media partner 6abc and supported by a dozen sponsors including: NRG, Kindy’s Christmas Factory Outlet, Manayunk Development Corporation, Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau, Barefoot Wine, Sofitel Philadelphia, Inspire, T-Mobile and Citizens Bank.
The Festival brings together old traditions and new memories, encouraging residents and visitors to shop, dine, explore and do more in the city this holiday season. City Hall will be illuminated with a new animated light show synchronized to holiday music. The Philly Holiday Tree powered by NRG will be displayed in a prominent new location on the North Broad Street side of City Hall — along with a new pop-up restaurant. Christmas Village will mark the soft-opening of LOVE Park. New Winter Memories family destination debuts in the City Hall Courtyard, new Merry, Merry Happy Hours and various new attractions will be introduced.
On Monday, November 13, a new website www.PhillyHolidayFestival.com will be launched with details about these events and more. A full calendar of events and details on tree lightings around the city are available at www.visitphilly.com and www.6abc.com.
New! Philly Holiday Tree Powered by NRG at City Hall at North Broad Street (tree lighting Friday, November 24)
The City’s official Philly Holiday Tree returns to City Hall at North Broad Street this year with an official tree lighting celebration and festive entertainment on Friday, November 24 from 5 to 6:30 p.m. and a new twinkling light show every day, every hour.
The 30,000-pound custom steel base supports a 50-foot live tree and represents 22 of Philadelphia’s neighborhoods. It was designed by David Korins Designs of New York. Known for production design for Broadway (Hamilton), TV (Grease Live), music (Kanye West) and festivals (Bonnaroo), Korins created this original work of art that showcases Philadelphia’s skyline, neighborhoods and icons like Independence Hall, the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Benjamin Franklin Bridge.
The towering 50-foot tall tree will be powered by 100% clean energy sourced through local Philadelphia clean tech company NRG. It is topped with a Liberty Bell and the decorations include bald eagles flying a banner across the tree that reads “Let there be Peace on Earth” in English and Spanish. The lights on the tree have been provided by Brite Star Manufacturing Co. owner of Kindy’s Christmas Factory Outlet of South Philadelphia. Decorations provided by Proof Productions of Sewell, NJ. The tree was harvested and transported by Sautter Crane of Northeast Philadelphia, and is a Canaan Fir from Strathmeyer Farm in Dover, PA.
New! Gift Drive at the Tree Lighting at City Hall at North Broad Street (Friday, November 24, donate from 4 – 8 p.m.)
Bring an unwrapped gift to the tree lighting on Friday, November 24 and help a child in need. Hats, scarves, ear muffs, gloves, mittens, journals, art and craft supplies, and board games are great for everyone. Older youth also like gift cards, ear buds, and toiletry bags. The Department of Human Services will accept gifts at the “Gift Donation Tent” at City Hall at North Broad Street from 4 to 8 p.m.
New! Pop-Up Restaurant at City Hall at North Broad Street (begins Friday, November 24)
From the group that started Parks on Tap, the first ever traveling beer garden, FCM Hospitality is bringing Philadelphia the first ever “pop-up restaurant” for the holiday season. Craft Hall, a new venue by FCM opening in Northern Liberties in the fall of 2018, will be offering food and beverage service as a “pop-up restaurant” from November 24 to December 23 at City Hall at North Broad Street alongside the Philly Holiday Tree. The Craft Hall Pop-Up Restaurant, in partnership with Lost Bread Co. Bakery and Barefoot Wines, will include a beautifully decorated heated tent with indoor seating for over 100 people and a Barefoot Wine bar with other seasonal drinks.
Winter Memories in the City Hall Courtyard Powered by Inspire (begins Saturday, November 18)
Strolling through the historic portals of Philadelphia City Hall, visitors will experience a winter wonderland themed courtyard with a carousel. The City Hall Courtyard will be a destination for families to gather for holiday fun. Twinkling lights shine from the courtyard trees illuminating tents featuring individual vendors with unique gifts perfect for holiday giving.
New! Light Show at Dilworth Park at City Hall (begins Monday, November 20)
Center City District in collaboration with 6abc will create a new holiday season attraction for visitors to experience – an animated light show, synchronized with holiday music and projected on Philadelphia’s National Historic Landmark, City Hall – Deck the Hall Light Show presented by Independence Blue Cross. This choreographed light show will be presented multiple times nightly, seven days a week, highlighting the architecture of the west portal of City Hall and visible from Dilworth Park and along West Market Street. The local, creative digital design firm KLIP Collective is creating this unique light show which will premiere on Monday, November 20, and shine on City Hall through Monday, January 1, 2018.
In addition, visitors can enjoy returning favorites The Rothman Institute Ice Rink, Rothman Cabin, America’s Garden Capital Maze, and the Made in Philadelphia Holiday Market.
Christmas Village Returns to LOVE Park (opens Thursday, November 23)
Closed for several months for major renovations, LOVE Park will have a soft opening for the holidays featuring the return of Christmas Village. This year marks the 10th anniversary of Philadelphia’s favorite German-style shopping village complete with 80 vendors selling authentic European food, ornaments and arts and crafts from all over the world. Christmas Village will be open Thursday, November 23 through Sunday, December 24.
LOVE Park will also feature a majestic snowflake tree. The 30-foot tall illuminated tree will be covered with enormous 6-foot white snowflakes. It will be the show-stopping centerpiece to LOVE Park and will be visible from Eakins Oval to City Hall.
New! Merry, Merry, Happy Hours (begins Thursday, November 30)
Twice the merry, twice the fun! Philadelphia bars and restaurants will extend the Philly Holiday Festival throughout the city with Merry, Merry Happy Hour specials on Thursdays (Nov 30, Dec 7, 14, 21 & 28). Featured location, Sofitel Philadelphia, exclusive luxury hotel for the Philly Holiday Festival, will be the first stop on Thursday, November 30 where they’ll debut three new holiday cocktails. One Liberty Observation Deck’s Bar 57 will kick-off the month-long series on November 16 with a special happy hour. Visit www.PhillyHolidayFestival.com for a list of participating venues.
New! Free Museum Days for the Holidays
Free Museum Days were so popular during Wawa Welcome America they’ve been expanded to the holidays as well. Explore some of Philadelphia’s great cultural institutions and experience unique holiday programming for FREE. Select museums will open their doors on designated dates for residents and visitors alike to enjoy holiday fun. Visit www.PhillyHolidayFestival.com for a list of participating museums and dates.
Free Parking on Saturdays (Thanksgiving – New Year’s Day)
Once again the Philadelphia Parking Authority will offer free on-street meter parking on Saturdays after 11 am from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day. In addition, holiday rates at PPA garages will be a flat $8 fee on Saturdays and Sundays entering after 11 a.m. and exiting by midnight Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day.
Shop, dine, and be merry in Manayunk (tree lighting Saturday, November 25)
Shop small and shop local at over 50 small businesses to find something for everyone on your list. While in town shopping, get in the holiday spirit at one of many holiday events.
- Kick off the holiday season on Small Business Saturday, November 25, for a day of local shopping, followed by the annual tree lighting with Santa himself at Canal View Park.
- Saturday, December 2, Main Street will light up for the second annual Promenade of Trees where guests will be led by carolers to see all 30 trees decorated by Manayunk’s businesses.
- Saturday, December 9, Philadelphia Runner’s annual fundraiser for North Light Community Center, the Rudolph Run, invites runners to dress to impress for this holiday fun run on the towpath.
- Sunday, December 10, Manayunk will host the first ever Style Me Manayunk holiday pop-up event on Grape Street to celebrate all things fashion.
- Sunday, December 17, Manayunk restaurants will give back in a big way for the fourth annual Manayunk Meals & More, where select restaurants will provide 750+ hot meals to Intercommunity Action, Inc.’s program, Journey’s Way.
- In addition, Manayunk is adding a Thursday night shopping and dining experience for guests, the Holiday Stroll, with themes including Sweets & Spirits Night, Men’s Shopping Night, Secret Santa Night, and Dashing Through the Stores Night!
SugarHouse New Year’s Eve Fireworks on the Waterfront (Sunday, December 31)
Since 1991, Philadelphia has celebrated the New Year with a huge fireworks display over the Delaware River Waterfront. For the past eight years, residents and visitors have had a chance to enjoy two fireworks shows, and will do so again this year thanks to the continued support of SugarHouse Casino. The SugarHouse New Year’s Eve Fireworks on the Waterfront will be THE place to ring in the New Year with TWO awe-inspiring fireworks shows synchronized to musical soundtracks at 6 p.m. and midnight.
The spectacular fireworks shows will be launched from barges in the middle of the Delaware River with clear views along the Philadelphia waterfront from SugarHouse Casino down to Penn’s Landing, with each location broadcasting the soundtracks from large speakers. Those at home can watch the 6 p.m. fireworks broadcast live during the NBC10 newscast or through a live stream on www.nbc10.com. For the midnight show, NBC10 will host a Facebook Live event to capture the festivities and fireworks. Those watching the fireworks nearby can hear both soundtracks on KYW Newsradio, 1060AM.
Holiday Lights and Observances
- One Liberty Observation Deck “A Very Philadelphia Holiday” – One Liberty Observation Deck is proud to present the launch of their new annual programming series, “A Very Philadelphia Holiday” to kick off the 2017 winter holiday season. Beginning Monday, November 6, 2017 through Monday, January 1, 2018, One Liberty Observation Deck’s 360-degree platform on the 57th floor will feature quadrants decorated with iconic Philadelphia themes that represent the corresponding neighborhoods for each area of the city skyline The Deck overlooks. The South End will feature a bright “Miracle on 13th Street” replica, a classic South Philly tradition, ranked one of the best holiday displays in the country with lights provided by South Philadelphia-based Kindy’s Christmas Factory Outlet. The East End will be dedicated to the colorful costumes and props provided by the Philadelphia Mummers and the West End will showcase costumes and stage décor from the Pennsylvania Ballet. Decorative components from each quadrant will culminate at the North End of The Deck to form a welcoming holiday installation around Ben Franklin’s head which will be visible to all guests. A portion of the proceeds from One Liberty Observation Deck’s “A Very Philadelphia Holiday” programming will be donated to the Big Brothers Big Sisters Independence Region organization.
- Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest at Penn’s Landing – Philadelphia’s largest outdoor ice skating rink and winter wonderland, returns to the waterfront on Friday, November 24, 2017. The seasonal winter park, presented by Delaware River Waterfront Corporation (DRWC) and founding sponsor Independence Blue Cross, includes a beautifully lit landscape featuring a majestic holiday tree, outdoor seating area with fire pits, cozy warming cabins, the Franklin Fountain Confectionary Cabin, the Kids Lodge with arcade games, and a chalet-inspired Lodge with food and beverages from local restauranteurs.
- Franklin Square Holiday Festival Featuring Electrical Spectacle Holiday Light Show presented by PECO – It’s sparkle time at Franklin Square for the 2017 Franklin Square Holiday Festival, including a winter beer garden with fire pits for warmth and charm and Ben’s Sweets & Treats where guests can create and taste a variety of treats (new s’mores and gourmet hot chocolate stations for 2017) inside the heated tent with views of the Square. From Thursday, November 9 through Sunday, December 31, dazzle in the lights of the Electrical Spectacle Holiday Light Show presented by PECO. In addition to the Parx Liberty Carousel and Philly Mini Golf, additional holiday entertainment includes #FranklinSquareFridays, Santa Saturdays, Seasonal Sounds on Sundays, Lightning Bolt Holiday Express train rides around the Square, and the traditional family-friendly Kid’s New Year’s Eve Countdown and Dance Party. Kids are invited to bring their letters to Santa for the special Santa Mailbox, or deliver them in person to him on Santa Saturdays. Highlighted special evenings include celebrations of the Grinch, Hanukkah, Santa Paws Pet Night, and visits from characters from Star Wars and Frozen.
- Christmas in Fairmount Park – Philadelphia’s longtime tradition of celebrating Christmas in Fairmount Park will, for the second year, feature the theme “A Very Philly Christmas” at five of the park’s treasured historic houses: Cedar Grove, Laurel Hill Mansion, Lemon Hill Mansion, Historic Strawberry Mansion, and Woodford. Holiday lovers are invited to drop in at the historic houses in Fairmount Park throughout the month of December and enjoy the decorations inspired by “A Very Philly Christmas” and learn interesting facts about each home.
- Historic Holiday Nights in Old City – Historic Holiday Nights in Old City takes place every Thursday from 5 to 8 p.m., through Thursday, December 28 with weekly performances at the Betsy Ross House courtyard. Elfreth’s Alley, America’s oldest residential neighborhood, will also offer extended visiting hours. As part of Historic Holiday Nights see “Illuminating Liberty,” the Museum of the American Revolution’s colorful new window illuminations, inspired by Philadelphia artist Charles Willson Peale.
- Old City District Design Tree – The Old City District Design Tree is an artistic lighting installation designed by FK Productions that celebrates the season with a nod to the neighborhood’s strong history of art and design. The tree lighting celebration will take place at the Betsy Ross House courtyard on Thursday, November 30 at 5 p.m.
- Boathouse Row Holiday Lights – The City will light the houses on Boathouse Row in festive designs in recognition of Hanukkah, Christmas and Kwanzaa. Stay tuned for more details over the coming weeks.
Don’t miss holiday classics like the Christmas Light Show at Macy’s and Comcast Holiday Spectacular.
Holiday revelers can tune into 6abc, official media partner for the Philly Holiday Festival and stay up to date on social media at:
KEY DATES FOR HOLIDAY PHOTO/VIDEO OPPORTUNITIES:
Monday, November 6: Press event to announce details of the Philly Holiday Festival at One Liberty Observation Deck
Thursday, November 9: Tree installation at City Hall at North Broad Street
Thursday, November 9: Franklin Square Tree Lighting and Electrical Spectacle Holiday Light Show
Friday, November 10: Dilworth Park Wintergarden opens including Rothman Institute Ice Rink & Cabin, Made in Philadelphia Holiday Market and America’s Garden Capital Maze at City Hall
Monday, November 13: Tree being decorated at City Hall at North Broad Street
Saturday, November 18: Inspire Energy’s Winter Memories debuts in City Hall Courtyard
Thursday & Friday, November 23-24: 10th Anniversary Christmas Village in Philadelphia returns to LOVE Park
Friday, November 24: City of Philadelphia Tree Lighting Celebration at City Hall at North Broad Street
5 – 6:30 p.m.
Friday, November 24: Opening of Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest
PHILLY HOLIDAY FESTIVAL QUOTES:
Honorable James F. Kenney Mayor of the City of Philadelphia
“Like the many vibrant colors and layers of lights on our tree, Philadelphia is a welcoming city of inclusion and diversity. But most important, the tree lighting serves as a reminder to cherish one another in the true spirit of the season. The tree-lighting ceremony is a Philadelphia tradition signifying the start of the holiday season and a festive kick-off to the Philly Holiday Festival. From today through New Year’s Day, I welcome all to join us for activities throughout the city that promise fun for the whole family.”
City Representative Sheila Hess
“Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Ramadan, Kwanzaa, the Festival of the Three Kings or other traditional observances, the celebration of holiday events citywide gives us an opportunity to come together with a shared sense of unity. We truly hope everyone is ready for the holidays and the spectacular activities that the City of Philadelphia and its partners have in store for the celebration of the 2017 Philly Holiday Festival. The festival includes the tree lighting ceremony, which has become synonymous with the holiday season in Center City and across our City of Neighborhoods. From a winter wonderland in the City Hall Courtyard, a European-style Christmas Village in LOVE Park and majestic tree lightings, explore the festive sights by ringing in the joy of the holidays with us. Venture into our communities to enjoy the full Philadelphia holiday experience of world-class dining, entertainment and culture.”
Welcome America, Inc. President & CEO Jeff Guaracino
“The holidays are a magical time in Philadelphia and the Philly Holiday Festival allows us to bring together events, activities and organizations to make it even more special for the residents and visitors who choose to spend their holidays in Philadelphia.”
VISIT PHILADELPHIA President & CEO Meryl Levitz
“Philadelphia provides plenty of holiday fun, and the Philly Holiday Festival shows off all the lights, trees, parades, fireworks and shows that make the city so magical this time of year. We’re looking forward to Christmas Village’s return to LOVE Park, along with all the classic, colorful attractions and events.”
6abc President & General Manager Bernie Prazenica
“Philadelphia is a city of traditions, and we expect the holiday tree to become another one of those great traditions. We are thrilled to once again partner with the City of Philadelphia and Welcome America to brighten the season with this dazzling holiday tree.”
One Liberty Observation Deck Assistant General Manager, Jennifer Hesser
“This year, we have a few reasons to get in the holiday spirit. Not only are we grateful to have the opportunity to become part of an existing Philadelphia tradition with our involvement in the 2017 Philly Holiday Festival, but we are very excited to begin our very own tradition with the launch of our first annual ‘A Very Philadelphia Holiday’ at the One Liberty Observation Deck.”
NRG Retail East Vice President and General Manager, Mike Starck
“The holiday tree lighting is a wonderful Philadelphia tradition. Since NRG is the hometown energy supplier, I am honored to join the city and Mayor Kenney to flip the switch and power the holidays for NRG customers, employees and the rest of the community during this season of hope and joy.”
SugarHouse Casino, General Manager, Wendy Hamilton
“What better way to cap off the holiday season than with fireworks and the New Year’s Day Mummers Parade! There are no other New Year’s celebrations like the ones we have in Philadelphia, and we couldn’t be more proud to sponsor these beloved Philly traditions.”