Philly Summerfest park opening signals festive start of season

    The popular Summerfest pop-up park opens to the public Friday at Penn’s Landing, bringing roller skating, mini-golf and casual, outdoor dining to the Delaware waterfront.

    The family and friends of the employees, contractors and others who had a hand in the creation of Summerfest were treated to a sneak preview Thursday evening that included complimentary food, drinks and roller skating.

    On a day that felt more like mid-July than late-May, guests stuffed their faces with crab legs, cheesesteaks and fries from Chickie’s and Pete’s and cooled off with drinks from local craft breweries and ice cream from Franklin Fountain.

    Brothers Jeimai and Elyja Floyd brazenly sunbathed on opposite arms of the large red Visit Philly lawn chair that has been featured in both the summer and winter versions of the River Rink.

    Most guests, however, opted to eat and drink their way through the heat inside the lodge, retreating to the air conditioned comfort and bellying up to picnic tables scattered throughout the large open room.

    Others tried out the small, but quirky, mini-golf course. Obstacles include mechanical portions that require the player to turn a wheel to release their ball.

    Those truly unfazed by the temperature and abundant sunshine laced up roller skates to glide around the River Rink itself. Or, at least, hold onto staff members and attempt to make it around the oval.

    The Summerfest River Rink officially opens to the public Memorial Day weekend following the early opening of its sister park, Spruce Street Harbor Park, a few weeks ago. Hours are 1 p.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Sunday.

    Admission to the skating rink is $3 (free to all Independence Blue Cross cardholders and employees). Skate rental is $10.

    A round of mini-golf, new this year, is $5.

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