A couple of weeks ago, we told you about the Delaware River Waterfront Winterfest at Penn’s Landing, which opened right after Thanksgiving. Last night, we finally had a chance to check it out and we have to say it’s the coolest thing to come to Penn’s Landing since, uh, William Penn?

Image from Penn's Landing Facebook page

For twenty years, the Blue Cross River Rink has been there for those of us who enjoy strapping on shoes with blades on them and going around in circles until we overheat. This year, the Winterfest adds a number of additional elements that make things considerably more fun and interesting.

The Lodge is the most noticeable change from years past. Apparently constructed out of shipping containers, the building has seating for hundreds along with a little kitchen and a bar area. Oh, and ping-pong. We snagged some spiked cider, some veggie chili, and potato fritters that literally melt in your mouth. Not a shock that the quality of food is so high, considering that the man in the kitchen last night was the talented George Sabatino. The only complaint here was that our shoes didn’t exactly love the mulch on the floor. So when you go, wear lousy shoes.

Festive. Lodge on the right, skating on the left

The photo above was taken from an area next to the Lodge, which features additional seating around fire pits. S’mores that we snagged inside made the experience delightful, though we did get yelled at for opening the metal grate of our fire pit to adequately roast our marshmallows. Also, we still smell like fire.

Seating area outside the Lodge

We were expecting stadium-like prices for food and drink, but were pleasantly surprised to find non-insane pricing across the board. Beers started at $4 (for a Lager), and a 12 oz. cider was only seven bucks. The most expensive food item is around eight dollars. Add in the cost of skating (thirteen dollars, including skate rental) and you can make a night of it for a really reasonable sum.

So to review: ice skating (which was gonna happen anyway), delicious food, tasty drinks, fire pits, and nothing that’s a killer on the wallet. When we went last night, it was not crowded and we don’t understand why. We imagine that once word gets out about how wonderful this thing is, the people will come in droves. Didn’t you always want to be a part of a drove?

We have to give all the credit in the world to the folks at DRWC for a wonderful place-making effort at one of Philadelphia’s most under-whelming locations. Hopefully, this will become an annual event that will only improve as the years roll on. And when the gears start turning in earnest on the new Penn’s Landing, we hope that the Winterfest will be properly incorporated. T’would be a shame indeed to see this thing go by the wayside.