Winterfest kicks off in downtown Raleigh

RALEIGH Thousands of people spent the evening taking in the sights and sounds of the holiday season at Winterfest 2009, the first of what the Downtown Raleigh Alliance says will become an annual extravaganza.

. "We've really got something for everybody down here tonight," said Brandi Barnhart with the Downtown Raleigh Alliance.

"Man I think tonight is just wonderful," Raleigh resident Brian Floyd said."This is really nice, the weather is nice. I'm enjoying myself."

Friday there was food, Santa and live music ranging from street carolers to stage acts like Grammy-award winning singer and guitarist Michelle Branch.

"I thought Michelle Branch, I thought she was really good," Raleigh resident Justin James said. "I'm just a fan of live music though; so, live music is good stuff to me."

The biggest draw though many say was the opening of downtown Raleigh's first ever outdoor ice rink.

Jeanette Harrelson came from Goldsboro with her three kids to take part in the festivities.

"This is pretty awesome," Harrelson said. "They're having a great time."

The skate rental and entry costs $6, but many say the memories are priceless.

The rink will stay open seven days a week until January 31.

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