Holiday program includes virtual and in-person family-friendly holiday activities
December 2, 2020
PROVIDENCE, RI – Mayor Jorge O. Elorza today in partnership with City Council President Sabina Matos, Providence Parks Superintendent Wendy Nilsson, Director of the Providence Department of Art, Culture + Tourism Stephanie Fortunato, BankNewport Executive Vice President and Director of Employee and Community Engagement Wendy Kagan, Providence Rink Manager Brant Gawrys and announced the programming schedule for virtual holiday tree lightings throughout the City and the opening of the Providence Rink at the BankNewport City Center for the 2020-2021 winter season.
“This year has been exceptionally challenging for our residents and businesses, but we have again found innovative ways to support our thriving culinary scene, historic architecture and vibrant arts community throughout the holiday season,” said Mayor Jorge O. Elorza. “Our City has taken careful steps to safely offer these free and family-friendly activities and, whether you live in Providence or are just visiting, the Creative Capital offers something for everyone to enjoy.”
As part of the start of the holiday season, Mayor Elorza and the Department of Art, Culture + Tourism are thrilled to announce the City’s annual Tree Lighting Ceremony will be reimagined into a virtual experience. Attendees are invited to participate in the live-streamed event on Tuesday, December 8 at 5:00 PM* on Mayor Jorge Elorza’s Facebook page. The digital ceremony, produced in partnership with Steer Media, will feature performances by Festival Ballet Providence’s Nutcracker and Trinity Rep’s Joe Wilson, Jr. reprising the roll of Scrooge from A Christmas Carol. At approximately 5:10 PM, Mayor Elorza and The Rhode Show’s Brendan Kirby will illuminate the tree, generously donated by Joseph and Donna Blanchette of North Scituate. During the event, the tree at the Providence Rink at the BankNewport City Center will also be lit.
“The holidays are a special time in Providence. I have enjoyed traveling through the City and seeing our city of neighborhoods come to life with holiday cheer,” said City Council President Sabina Matos. “Our tree is up and lit in Olneyville Square, and many of my Council colleagues will be lighting trees in their neighborhoods as well. I encourage you to take time this season to visit our neighborhoods, enjoy the lights and holiday decorations, and support our local shops and restaurants. Now more than ever our small business community needs our support. We have 1,000’s of local businesses and restaurants where you can find that perfect gift. From my family to yours, happy holidays!”
As part of the festivities, spectators are encouraged to support their favorite Providence eatery by ordering takeout or delivery while they soak up the holiday magic from afar. Later this month, the City will also announce plans for virtual celebrations for Hanukah, Kwanzaa and other winter holiday traditions.
Weather permitting, the Rink will be open for ice skating daily between the hours of 10:00AM to 10:00PM beginning Wednesday, December 9. The Rink will operate at 66% of normal capacity to allow for skaters to socially distance. General admission for ice skating is $7 for adults and $4 for seniors, children under 12 and military veterans. Ice skate rentals are $7 (tax included) per person. Season passes are $90 for adults, $250 for families of four and $50 for children, seniors and military. Special rates are available for birthdays, school groups, business and social groups, and for full ice rentals. Visit theprovidenceRink.com for details.
“We’re thrilled that ice skating will be back at the BankNewport City Center this holiday season,” said Wendy Kagan, Executive Vice President, Director of Employee Engagement at BankNewport. “We are proud of our commitment to the City Center and the team’s efforts to provide Rhode Islanders with a safe and fun way to take it outside all winter long.”
Ice bumper cars will be available Monday- Friday from 4:00PM to 8:00PM and weekends from 10:00AM through 2:00PM at a cost of $12 per person for 15 minutes. Providence residents can receive a 15% discount at the Providence Rink through the City’s municipal identification card system, IDPVD, as well as at participating businesses and attractions. Ice bumper cars as well as all skate rentals will be sanitized in between uses.
“Like everything else, downtown may feel a little different this holiday season, but it’s still a great destination for shopping, takeout, and family-friendly attractions that can be enjoyed all winter long,” said Director of Art, Culture + Tourism Stephanie Fortunato. “Seasonal attractions like the BankNewport City Center, public art installations, festive holiday lighting, the beautiful tree on the City Hall steps, and winter holiday selfie stations add to the experience of discovery.”
City of Providence residents can receive free admission to the Providence Rink during the first Saturday of each month. Skate rental fee of $7 (tax included) is applicable and residents must bring valid identification or IDPVD. College students can also enjoy $5 discounted admission every Wednesday from 6:00PM until 10:00PM a valid college photo ID.
Guests and skaters will be able to comfortably enjoy their experience while socially distancing due to $90,000 in grant funding awarded to the Providence Rink through the State’s Reopening RI Take It Outside Grant Program. The additional funding will be used to add four outdoor infrared heaters, additional cleaning infrastructure, and an all-weather stage that will be installed as part of a new outdoor pavilion in the southwest corner of the facility.
The Providence Rink has also up teamed with Fireworks LLC to offer private and group ice skating lessons and instructor for people of all ages. Lessons are $22 for groups and $37 for private lessons (includes admission and skate rentals). For more information and lesson schedules, please visit theprovidencerink.com/learn-to-skate.
The Providence Tourism Council is excited to once again partner with the City of Providence, local businesses, and organizations to launch and expand the Illuminate PVD Campaign. This campaign works to activate and illuminate some of our City’s public spaces and buildings, adding a little extra holiday spirit to the downtown area and highlight the special character and beautiful architecture of our city that residents and visitors can enjoy through the winter season.
For a list of upcoming tree lightings and holiday happenings throughout the City, please visit thinkpvd.com.
* Please note this event was originally scheduled for Saturday, December 5th but was postponed due to inclement weather.