Winterfest kicks off Saturday with tree lighting

December 2, 2012 4:37:28 PM PST
The holidays officially arrived in Raleigh Saturday with the opening of AT&T Raleigh Winterfest on City Plaza.

The annual tradition downtown features daily ice skating on an outdoor skating rink (view live webcam) set up at City Plaza on the southern end of the 400 block of Fayetteville Street.

Click here for times.

The opening celebration is set for Saturday, Dec. 1 from 3 p.m. until 9 p.m. with the ice rink open from 2 p.m. to 11 p.m.

The family fun event will offer sledding ramps, carriage rides, bounce houses, a carousel, a Ferris wheel, more than 40 vendors offering the fare of local restaurants, crafts and gift items and of course, Santa Claus himself in his village with several of his helpers.

Mayor Nancy McFarlane will light the 35-foot, North Carolina-grown Norway spruce at 7 p.m. The 3,000 pound tree came from Andrew's Nursery, the same place that provides the tree every year for the Biltmore House.

Click here for kickoff event schedule.

ABC11 will cover the kickoff event live and host a half-hour long special Dec. 8 at 7:30 p.m.

In all, there will be two months of seasonal programming at the AT&T Raleigh Winterfest Ice Rink featuring Sledding Sundays, Two for One Tuesdays, Work Out Wednesdays, Date & Skate Thursdays, Rock Around the Rink Fridays and All-Day Skate Saturdays.

The ice rink will be open six days a week from Dec. 1 ? Jan. 30. Admission is $8 (includes skate rental).

All the details can be found at the www.RaleighWinterfest.com website - including more information on hours of operation, directions and scheduled events.

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