The holidays are nigh in Philadelphia

Philadelphia announces its holiday programming during an event in the Mayor's Reception Room at City Hall. (Peter Crimmins/WHYY)

Philadelphia announces its holiday programming during an event in the Mayor's Reception Room at City Hall. (Peter Crimmins/WHYY)

The ice skating rink in Dilworth Park at City Hall opened Friday, and Philadelphia’s official Christmas tree will soon be installed — which means the holidays are upon us.

About two dozen events and attractions this winter are bundled together as the Philly Holiday Festival. They include light shows, marketplaces, and parades, as well as the popular Christmas Village, ice skating at the RiverRink on the Delaware River, the video display at the Comcast building, and the New Year’s Day Mummers Parade. Even the Army-Navy football game is packaged under the festival.

The festival is coordinated by Visit Philadelphia, the city’s tourism marketing corporation, and the title sponsor is One Liberty Observation Deck, the 57-story lounge.

Most events will begin on or immediately after Thanksgiving, but the centerpiece lighting of the tree at City Hall is set for Nov. 28.

The 65-foot tree, weighing 7,000 pounds with 2,500 feet of lights, is the largest tree the city has ever had. Its base is a sculptural work representing 22 Philadelphia neighborhoods.

“The tree base is 30,000 pounds,” said Mayor Jim Kenney Friday. “The tree base is a unique engineering challenge that enables us not to tether our tree. Our tree is freestanding.

“Unlike New York’s,” he added.

The new ACME Winter Memories in the City Hall courtyard features a carousel, scavenger hunt, and performances by local musicians.

A book drive for kids is another addition this year.

“What you can do, you can text to 20222, to donate five bucks,” said Jeff Guaracino, CEO of Visit Philadelphia. “It will purchase four books for kids, which we will collect during this holiday season and give them our to kids through parks and rec.”

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