Philly families swap Black Friday shopping for skating [photos]

While huge numbers of people took advantage of Black Friday sales to do some holiday shopping, plenty of others stayed away from stores altogether.

Hundreds came to the opening of Philadelphia’s Winterfest at the River Rink — an outdoor ice rink and rustic lodge at Penn’s Landing on the Delaware River.

“Our family has an annual traditional that we come here after thanksgiving every year to go skating at the River Rink, said Liz Natal of Havertown. “We get our pictures for our holiday cards, the kids have a great time, we have lunch, hang out. It’s great.”

For opening day, the Delaware River Watefront Corporation brought Queen Elsa and Princess Anna to the ice rink. The characters from Disney’s “Frozen” skated and posed for pictures. They were the main draw for some.

“Really, if it wasn’t for my girls I wouldn’t be here,” said Mary Carion, whose two daughters tried skating for the first time because of “Frozen.” “To see their faces happy, that’s why I’m here.”

About 200 people came to Penn’s Landing at 11AM for the first skate session. That may not compare to the hundreds of thousands of shoppers who crowded King of Prussia Mall, but they comprised a small demographic determined to buck the trend and steer clear of cash registers.

“No, absolutely not. No interest,” said Marva Schodel, of Center City, who went to the skate rink with her husband instead of pursuing Black Friday deals. “It’s not that important to us.”

Her husband, Florian, declared all the attention on shopping the day after Thanksgiving “disgusting.” He looked out at the small crowd happily circling the rink: “Clearly, ice skating trumps it.”

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