"It's beginning to look a lot like ..." -- Rockefeller Raleigh?

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There's gonna be ice skating on Fayetteville Street this winter -- from December 4 to the end of January. Did you know that Winterfest is a Raleigh tradition? Me neither. But it's going to be, says the newly re-elected Mayor Meeker. It's all in the press release from the Downtown Raleigh Alliance -- below the fold -- and on the RaleighWinterfest.com website:

(RALEIGH – October 7, 2009) – The kickoff for the First Annual AT&T Raleigh Winterfest, a two-month long holiday event, will be combined with Mayor Meeker’s Tree Lighting on the evening of Friday, December 4, 2009 in City Plaza located in the 400 block of Fayetteville Street. Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker announces, “Winterfest is sure to be a treasured Raleigh tradition. I am so excited about the December 4 kickoff which promises to be a fun-filled celebration.” Opening night will run from 5 p.m. until 11 p.m. on Friday, December 4 and will feature an outdoor ice rink, performances by local choirs and bands, talented figure skaters and a multitude of other entertainers, a visit by Santa Claus, a reading by Ira David Wood III (star of Theatre in the Park’s A Christmas Carol), delicious food and drinks, a dazzling holiday tree lighting and a country music headliner that will soon be announced.   This FREE community-wide kickoff event will be followed by two months of additional programming at the AT&T Raleigh Winterfest Ice Rink.

President and CEO of the Downtown Raleigh Alliance, David Diaz, says, “We are thrilled to be producing the AT&T Raleigh Winterfest. This will be an event like no other in our region because of the variety of entertainment, the scenic location of the ice rink that uses natural ice, and the duration of the event. For the kickoff event on Friday, December 4 we are bringing a national headliner and an impressive and diverse collection of local and regional talent.  The location – City Plaza – is situated in the center of downtown Raleigh. Though the City Plaza was not modeled after Rockefeller Plaza, the AT&T Raleigh Winterfest will bear a strong resemblance to it not only because of the outdoor ice rink but also because it is located in the heart of our central business district. AT&T Raleigh Winterfest consists of the kickoff event on Friday, December 4 as well as activities and performances scheduled throughout the two months to follow—a major milestone for the Triangle.”

The Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina and the Christmas Wish Program will be accepting donations during the kickoff event on Friday, December 4. Allen Reep, Vice President of the Central and Eastern North Carolina Food Bank remarked, “We always appreciate the support of the community in our efforts to provide food to our friends and neighbors who need help.” Lisa McKay, spokesperson for the Christmas Wish Program shared, “The QDR Christmas Wish program is all about neighbors helping neighbors.  Each year with our listeners’ donations we help 50 families who have fallen on hard times.  Because of the economy this year we expect even more families to be in need! With the huge turnout of people expected at AT&T Raleigh Winterfest, I hope we can count on a small donation of one dollar from everyone—your loose change will provide the power to change lives.”

The sights and sounds of Downtown Raleigh will come alive during this eight-week celebration! Be sure to mark the date on your calendar for the kickoff event on Friday, December 4 and then visitwww.RaleighWinterfest.com for more opportunities to take part in all of the fun-filled activities scheduled from December 5 – January 31 at the AT&T Raleigh Winterfest Ice Rink.  The ice rink will be open seven days a week and admission is $6 (includes skate rental). Please visit our website www.RaleighWinterfest.com for information on hours of operation, directions and scheduled events. These two months of activities will be a signature part of the AT&T Raleigh Winterfest experience,” says Diaz.

Special thanks to:

Special thanks go to our corporate sponsors particularly AT&T, the title sponsor of Winterfest and WTVD and Curtis Media, the media sponsors of Winterfest. And, we thank the following organizations for their support: One Bank of America Plaza, Kimley-Horn, Downtown Raleigh Eyecare Center, Downtown Housing Improvement Corp., Carolina Ballet, Jimmy Johns, Sheraton Raleigh Hotel, Raleigh Marriott City Center Hotel, and Snowmyyard.com.

About the Downtown Raleigh Alliance: The Alliance serves as an independent contractor for the City of Raleigh to supplement city services in the downtown district. Our vision is to be recognized as the leader and champion for a vibrant and dynamic downtown. The Alliance is a guiding force in shaping a healthy center that anchors the city and region. Our mission is to effectively and efficiently deliver five core services. Through our dedicated board and staff, we are responsible for providing the following services: Advocacy and Member Support, Clean and Safe Ambassadors, Economic Development, Marketing and Events, and Public Space Management.

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