Holiday Happenings



Mayor Jim Kenney, Sheila Hess, City Rep, Michael DelBene, President & CEO · Welcome America Inc. Robert Nonemacker Office of the City Representative and Kelly Lee, Chief Cultural Officer for the City of Philadelphia.

Mayor Jim Kenney today announced details of this year’s new and improved Philly Holiday Experience presented by Independence Blue Cross. From mid-November through the New Year, families and visitors can enjoy a Ferris Wheel and holiday pop-upsat the Wawa Holiday Plaza, admire the VISIT PHILADELPHIA®Holiday Tree powered by NRG, preferred energy partner of the Philly Holiday Experience, attend the first annual VISIT PHILADELPHIA®Holiday Parade, and discover more new ways to celebrate the season throughout the city and region.

Mayor Jim Kenney, City of Philadelphia: “We are so excited to bring back The Philly Holiday Experience with in-person events, including the tree lighting ceremony and the new Visit Philadelphia Holiday Parade. Philadelphia is an amazing place full of tradition, and I can’t wait to see residentsand visitors enjoying the holidays throughout the city this year. These events showcase the spirit and diversity of our city, and we welcome everyone to come take part in both our returning traditions, as well as our new ones.”

Welcome America Team – Thanks for your work on putting smiles on Philadelphians

The city will kick off the most wonderful time of the year with an in-person tree lighting ceremony on Thursday, December 2 at 7:00 p.m. on the northside of City Hall. Guests are encouraged to come as early as 5:00 p.m. for free giveaways. The ceremony, featuring performances by local artists and Disney’s DCappella, is back in-person and better than ever after being held virtually last year due to pandemic safety concerns. The ceremony will also be broadcast live exclusively on 6abc.

The holiday programming continues Saturday, December 4 with the first VISIT PHILADELPHIA®Holiday Parade celebrating all winter holidays –Christmas, Hannukah, Kwanzaa,and the Chinese New Year. The parade,kicking off at 5:00 p.m.at 2nd& Market Streetsand ending at City Hall,will feature cold air balloons, marching bands,floats, dance groups, and more.The parade will incorporate arts and culture organizations, reflecting the diversity of the city and all the different ways the holiday season is celebrated throughout Philadelphia. The parade is a must-see event to experience excitement, entertainment,and get in the holiday spirit. Parade goers are encouraged to enjoy the parade all along the Market Street route
Rachel Ferguson Visit Philadelphia Chief Innovation & Global Diversity Officer and Nicole A. Cashman is the Founder and CEO of Cashman & Associates – Thanks to Nicole and her team for preparing the following information about holiday happenings happening around town.

East Market: East Market, Center City’s urban lifestyle destination encompassing the entire block between Market and Chestnut, 11th and 12th streets, will transform into the ultimate holiday destination. This holiday season, East Market will become a magical winter wonderland as hundreds of LED lights come together with a 35-foot tree to create a synchronized, animated light show. Enjoy live music, festive décor, seasonal giveaways and food and drink options provided by East Market tenants. With a range of outdoor holiday activation’s, East Market has something for everyone this season. Follow @EastMarketPhl on social for updates. Thursdays – Sundays in December

Thanks to all the Sponsors of Philly Holidays

THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSORS! The Philly Holiday Experience would not be possible without the support of our generous partners and sponsors, including the City of Philadelphia, Independence Blue Cross, 6abc, VISIT PHILADELPHIA®, NRG, Wawa, Bank of America, Boston Market, Primark, HERSHEY’S CHOCOLATE WORLD, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, City of Philadelphia Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy, Tastykake, Books in Homes USA, Christmas Village, SEPTA, Philadelphia Fire Department Foundation, Philly POPS, East Market, Media Copy, Kindy’sChristmas Factory Outlet, Pennsylvania Convention Center, Cashman & Associates, ChatterBlastMedia, Defy, Proof Productions, and Sautter Crane

This year Boston Market is a sponsor of the Holiday Tree and Parade…

Delaware River Waterfront Corporation: Celebrate the holiday season at Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest’s Winter Wonderland on the Waterfront. Enjoy skating under the holiday lights, copying up in a festive cabin or by a fire pit, delicious eats, warm beverages and cocktails, and boardwalk rides and games.On December 3, gather your friends and family for the Holiday Tree Lighting Powered by PECO to kick-off the official launch of the holidays on the Philadelphia
Waterfront, complete with festive performances.
Location:101 S. Columbus Blvd., Philadelphia, PA 19106
Dates: November 26 through March 6

Christmas Village: Returning for its 14th season, Christmas Village in Philadelphia will once again transform LOVE Park and City Hall (Courtyard and North Apron) into a traditional, open-air German Christmas Market, open daily between Thanksgiving, Thursday, November 25th and Christmas Eve, Friday, December 24th, with a preview weekend planned for November 20 to 21, 2021.
New and returning for this year, Christmas Village will present an extra magical surprise with a double-tier Christmas Village carousel in the City Hall Courtyard, along with a brand-new German food court in the Courtyard. After taking a break last year due to the pandemic, the grand Ferris Wheel and the Kid’s Train will be back within the Wawa Holiday Plaza, along with vendors on the City Hall North Apron.Location:LOVE Park (1500 Arch Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102) and City HallDates:November 25–December 24;

Preview Weekend: November 20 &21,2021 Hours: Sunday to Thursday, 11:00a.m.to 7:00p.m., Friday to Saturday: 11:00a.m.to 8:00p.m., Thanksgiving Day: 9:00a.m.to 5:00p.m.,Christmas Eve: 11:00a.m.to 5:00p.m.Special Events:o Willkommen Zurück(Welcome Back Ceremony)–Sunday, November28th at 3:00 p.m.

Family Day –Sunday, December 5oGerman American Weekend –Saturday, December11–Sunday, December12

Rivers Casino Fireworks on the Waterfront, presented by VISIT PHILADELPHIA®:OnNew Year’s Eve, the Blue Cross RiverRink WinterfestNew Year’s Eve Parties on Ice offers a front row view of the Rivers Casino New Year’s Eve Fireworks on the Waterfront, presented by VISIT PHILADELPHIA®. For many years, Philadelphians have come to enjoy two great New Year’s Eve fireworks displays over the Delaware River Waterfront thanks to Rivers Casino. There will be two additional shows this year as well –at 6 p.m. and midnight on NYE. And as a new addition this year, VISIT PHILADELPHIA® is also proudly presenting an additional New Year’s Day fireworks spectacular.Don’t miss any of the excitement including ice skating, music, and fantastic food and drink.This is a ticketed event. Tickets will be on-sale soon at RiverRink.com.

Mike Starck, VP and General Manager, NRG Retail East Division:“NRG is once again excited to join the City in welcoming the community to celebrate the magic of the holiday season together. With the return of the in-person Tree Lighting and the addition of a Holiday Parade, this year’s celebration will be bigger than ever and NRG invites everyone to take part.”

PHLASH: The Philly PHLASH Downtown Loop is the quick, easy,and inexpensive connection to key Philadelphia historic attractions and cultural institutions. ThePHLASH is currently running weekend service (Friday –Sunday) through December 26 and will then run daily service for the holidays from December 27 –30 (10a.m. –6 p.m.) No service on Christmas Day. PHLASH will also be running a holiday-centric route –a full-service route that stops at all the major holiday locations, including Penn’s Landing Winter Fest, LOVE Park for City Hall and Christmas Village, and more.Link to the route map

Cari Feiler Bender, Relief Communications, LLC and Laura Burkhardt, Executive Director · Avenue of the Arts, Inc.

Cari Feiler Bender represents and tells me that Historic Philadelphia, Inc.’s (HPI) Franklin Square Electrical Spectacle Light Show is back with new additions to the sparkling lights and winter magic from November through February in this beautiful public space. Visitors can celebrate the magic of the season both day and night in festive Franklin Square, with evening activities beginning at 5 pm each evening. Winter in Franklin Square presented by Citizens featuring the Electrical Spectacle Light Show presented by PECO will sparkle from November 18, 2021 – February 27, 2022. Franklin Square is open November 18 – February 27 daily (closed November 26, December 25, January 1), 10 am – 9 pm, Fridays and Saturdays 10 am – 10 pm. The nighttime festivities run 5 – 9 pm daily, until 10 pm on Fridays and Saturdays. For more information, visit www.historicphiladelphia.org.

Christie Mandia, Boston Market and Dave Schrader, NRG Energy

Even before I was PhillyChitChat, I was a fan of all things celebrating Philly and putting smiles on the faces of Philadelphian’s by way of holiday happenings, parades etc. and attended as many as I could (now I get to do it with PhillyChitChat and share the experience with you) In the past 4 year I have been able to connect my clients like Boston Market and NRG Energy as sponsors for these events after both of them told me they were looking to get support the City. Thanks to Boston Market and especially longtime Welcome America sponsor NRG for sponsoring some of my favorite events. I look forward to seeing you all, just shout out PhillyChitChat and I will get a photo of you to share on my pages…. Thanks HughE


Celebrate holidays on the Main Line with a month of festive offerings & Free Parking

Celebrate holidays on the Main Line with a month of festive offerings that started with the Holiday Tree Lighting on Black Friday and goes through December 23rd. Ardmore Initiative, Ardmore Business Association and sponsor PECO hosted a tree lighting virtually and Santa’s arrival with special guest Cinderella by A Dash of Magic. Here’s some photos from the festive event that was both virtual and covered by the press in person. 

All month long you can still celebrate if you missed the tree lighting! The Holiday Rally for Ardmore Restaurants and Retail runs through December 23rd. Head out and support dozens of small local businesses for everyone on Santa’s wish list and find gifts, decor, fashion, ornaments, food, drink and so much more. Every shopper that spends $25 at participating businesses can enjoy a free entry to win prizes valued up to $1,000 in total – including a $100 gift card winner every week in December.

On Sunday, December 13th,from 9:30am to 12:00pm, bundle up and head to Cricket Ave for Christmas on Cricket.  Join Lulu’s Casita and pucciManuli for a jolly good time as they welcome Santa, The Grinch and Elf on the Shelf! The morning will be filled with holiday tunes with Roots with Ruark, ornament making, hot chocolate & cookies and a special story time! Space is limited due to capacity restrictions. 

Finally, enjoy FREE parking at all downtown Ardmore meters and lots on Saturday, November 28th, December 5, December 12, and December 19th courtesy of the Ardmore Initiative, Ardmore Business Association, and Lower Merion Township.  For event details, info about the Rally, or for a directory of businesses, visit www.destinationardmore.com.


Aldi About To Open, Pet Food Giveaway, The Pub Buys The Library and More Around Town with HughE

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving, well as much as possible in 2020. It was low key except for photographing a few events, yes a few socially distant events. It was nice to get “back to work”, I realize more than ever I thrive mentally when I am covering events and seeing old friends. Speaking of events, Chestnut Hill has kicked off Holidays on the Hill for all your shopping needs. Every Wednesday in December is Stag & Doe with specials, music and sales. I’ll be there this Wednesday, hope to see you. Hello new followers, I see I have about 27 more since the last time I wrote last week. In a non pandemic I post about 5 times a week, these days I’m doing about 3. I’m glad you’re here… Today’s column is Around Town with HughE. I cover fun gossip, what’s new and observations.

It’s Here: The Fairmount Ave ALDI is opening this week , Thursday December 3 at 1300 Fairmount Ave., Philadelphia, PA 19123. The store is the first Philadelphia Aldi that’s part of a mixed-use development, taking up the ground floors of a 14-story apartment building.

The ALDI sits at the base of a 478 apartments, next door to a playschool. There’s a parking garage located next door for patrons of ALDI as well.
Head to Billy Penn for a story on the Philly supermarket boom.

Giving Tuesday:
A night at home supporting @jeffersonhealth heroes. Get your tickets to a Better Together event, a night of food+fashion+fun. Each comes with a specialty @dibrunobros cheese tray and @boydsphiladlephia gift box. Limited tickets available
Join Us Thursday 12/3 http://ow.ly/1vSi50CwHDh

Philadoptables wrapped up their 11th annual pet food drive this past weekend, a program that provides pet food for families in need. Donations were collected at various locations throughout the Delaware Valley, as well as online. The pet food will be distributed at a pet food pantry event on Saturday, December 5, 2020 from 12pm until 4pm (or until supplies last) It will be hosted at Philly Auto and Parole (PAAP) at 5224 Woodland Avenue in Philadelphia. People needing assistance feeding their pets may attend.This event is also made possible through a $2,500 grant from Finance of America Cares, an employee-funded and company-matched nonprofit whose mission is to strengthen communities, enrich lives and inspire caring.Continued support in the form of money or pet food donations are accepted year round. For more information, visit www.philadoptables.org. Donations support various initiatives to help foster parents,community cat feeders, and local rescues.

John Bolaris hung with Adam Sandler on set of his new movie Hustle. How did that happen, when the production team for the movie was looking for a home for Sandler to live during the filming they turned to Bolaris’ Black Label Luxury Real Estate. Since we last reported on Hustle, legendary Robert Duvall has joined the cast. Currently the movie is filming inside a studio nearby.

PA 30 Day Fund announced it will be distributing 54 forgiveable loans to childcare centers across Philadelphia totaling $162,000 to aid them in funding essential needs, staffing and business operations during this challenging time.
 The Pennsylvania 30 Day Fund is a non-profit, founded by Jeff Bartos, Jeff Brown, Richard Phillips, and Roger Braunfeld, with a simple mission: to save as many small businesses in Pennsylvania’s communities as possible. The PA 30 Day Fund accomplishes this with $3,000 forgivable loans to small businesses to cover payroll expenses, healthcare, rent, replenish inventory, and pay operating expenses at this challenging time. To learn more about the PA 30 Day Fund, or to apply for a forgivable loan, please visit https://pa30dayfund.com/.  

Bravo Brauhaus Schmitz South Street love it. Stop by to see the rest of the building decorated in it’s holiday best. Thanks for stopping by.


10 Adorable Photos from Suburban Square Welcomes Santa

10 Adorable Photos from Suburban Square Welcomes Santa


Saturday Suburban Square welcomed Santa and Mrs. Claus. Over 500 families came out to celebrate Santa’s arrival, followed by a day of children’s crafts, a magic show and giveaways to families in the Main Courtyard. Guests had their pictures taken with Santa and received a complimentary printed photograph keepsake. Here are a few adorable photos from the the day.

so adorable

Located in the heart of the Main Line, Suburban Square is a unique and upscale lifestyle center with an eclectic mix of the most sought-after retailers.

Christmas card ready

Mommy and Me

Santa’s elf was on hand to add children to the naughty or nice list

Join us to celebrate with of the MainLine! Start at to light the menorah and head to the Ardmore Music Hall for a fun party. 12/12 at 5:15PM


Mrs. Claus said this young child will remember this day forever especially on her wedding day

There was an arts & crafts room for the kids

of Suburban Square are welcomed on Tuesdays during December. Post your photos.

This magician mesmerizes the kids

Albrecht Events organized the day with carolers, magicians and holiday magic. The magician was amazing, I asked for his card but he told me people have to go through Albrecht. I highly recommend him, I couldn’t figure it out. He did explain some of the tricks to the kids so they could do them for their friends which was nice.

Events happening in the New Year:

Saturday, January 20th, 2018 – Winterfest (We’re working on this timing but most likely I think it will be Afternoon/Evening)

  Saturday, March 3rd, 2018 – Winter Beach (11am – 2pm)


Photos & Info on 2017 Rothman Rink, The Maze and City Hall Light Show

Photos & Info on 2017 Rothman Rink, The Maze and City Hall Light Show

Last Friday I attended the opening of the Rothman Rink and America’s Garden Capital Maze at Dilworth Park, both of which have improved over the years as far in offerings and layout.


Friday, November 10, the Rothman Institute Ice Rink at Dilworth Park reopened for its fourth year of seasonal skating.

It was one of the first bitter cold days, so props go out to the Philly Pops for performing in the frigid temperatures. Up next for these guys….A Philly Pops Christmas Michael Krajewski, Conductor Verizon Hall, Kimmel Center for Performing Arts (Info & Tixs)

I’m not much into ice skating, but am more of a snow bunny. I’ll be in the lodge when I’m not checking out the skill set on the rink. There’s lots of delicious food, drinks, hot chocolate and spirits on the menu.

Definitely one of my favorite spots is America’s Garden Capital Maze or Wintergarden.  Created in partnership with Greater Philadelphia Gardens, the garden features twinkling lights and seasonal plants that showcase more than 30 public gardens, arboreta and historic landscapes located within 30 miles of Philadelphia. There’s a brochure near the entrance which tells you about the various plant species.


The garden is laid out much better this year; the paths are wider, the plants aren’t on top of each other
The topiary is plentiful for those selfies

it’s just beautiful

Missing in this photo is the Philly Made Market Place, which was erected this past week.
I’m glad I photographed it before they were set up
They block the beauty of the garden
I noticed even the landscaping around City Hall has been given an upgrade. It’s really quite nice.

This year at the skating rink, they’re having a “winter SIPS”, every Wednesday there are drink specials

I’m super excited for this new attraction at City Hall. It premiere’s Monday at 5PM Here’s the press release.

WHAT: Premiere of the Deck the Hall Light Show Presented by Independence Blue Cross, a dramatic light show, synchronized with music and projected onto the West Market Street portal of City Hall.

WHO: Speakers include Center City District President and CEO Paul R. Levy, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney, Independence Blue Cross President Executive Vice President and Chairman and CEO of AmeriHealth Caritas Paul A. Tufano, Esq., and 6abc President and General Manager Bernie Prazenica. Following remarks, there will be a countdown before “throwing the switch” to start the show.

WHEN: Premiere is 5 p.m. Monday, November 20, 2017 (rain or shine). Shows will be presented during the evenings through January 1, every hour on the half-hour from Sunday to Thursday and more frequently on Friday and Saturday evenings.

WHERE: Dilworth Park, City Hall (west portal)

MORE:  Presented by Independence Blue Cross in partnership with Center City District and 6abc, this stunning six-minute light show created by award-winning experimental art studio KLIP Collective highlights City Hall’s historic architecture and will be visible from Dilworth Park and along West Market Street.