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Raleigh Winterfest opens this weekend

There's an ice skating rink, sledding, carousel and train rides and more to celebrate the beginning of the season on Saturday.

Posted Updated

Sarah Lindenfeld Hall
Raleigh Winterfest returns this weekend with a 42-foot-tall Christmas tree, an ice skating rink, sledding and more.
The grand opening celebration on Saturday will feature all kinds of live music, activities for kids and a visit from Santa. You'll find it on City Plaza, which sits at the southern end of the 400 block of Fayetteville Street next to the Bank of America building and on top of the Charter Square parking deck.

Saturday's event runs from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Skating continues until 11 p.m. Activities include a Santa's Village from 5 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Parents will be able to take their own pictures of their kids with Santa for free. From 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., you'll also find sledding ramps and carousel, trackless train and carriage rides.

Most of the activities are free. There is a $1 fee for the carousel, train and carriage rides. Admission to the ice rink is $8 per person, including the cost for skates. You can bring your own skates as well, but you'll still have to pay the $8 admission.

The ice rink this year will be open through Jan. 29. Hours vary depending on the day. And I'm excited that the Downtown Raleigh Alliance, which works to put this all together, is planning some special events again this year. I think parents will be particularly interested in the Sledding Sundays, Two for Tuesdays deal and the stroller skating.

Special activities include:

  • Sledding Sunday: SnowMyYard.com will create a winter wonderland on Dec. 18, Jan. 8 and Jan. 15.
  • Two for Tuesdays: Skaters will receive one free admission to the rink with the purchase of one paid admission (includes skate rental). This will come in handy during winter break when kids are out of school.
  • Music Craze Wednesdays: Enjoy live music at the rink from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
  • Stroller Skate Thursday Mornings: Parents and babies share outdoor fun. Skate and push a strollers on the ice from 10 a.m to 11 a.m. I did this last year with my baby, made a fool of myself and posted a video of it for all to see. Click here to check it out. It's a lot of fun! I might try it again, though I fear my two-year-old would be more interested in trying to get out of the stroller to get onto the ice.
  • Date & Skate Thursdays: Free carriage rides with skating wristband from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
  • Rock Around the Rink Fridays (select dates to be announced): DJ Paradime from Pulse 102 will rock the rink from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.
For more information, check out the Raleigh Winterfest website.
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