View story at sentinelandenterprise.com
By Julia Sarcinelli
This Saturday, enjoy a day full of winter activities highlighted by a visit by the NHL’s Stanley Cup, which returns to Worcester for the first time in more than 10 years.
Worcester’s Mercantile Center Plaza, 100 Front St., downtown Worcester, will host the first annual Worcester WinterFest from noon to 6 p.m. The entire event is free and open to the public.
“I think it’s a really great event to bring people to downtown Worcester on the weekend,” said Kathleen Chrisom, vice president of sales and marketing for Conventures, the marketing and public-relations firm representing the Mercantile Center. “It’s a family-friendly event — there will be something for everyone of all ages.”
Charles “Chip” Norton, managing director of Mercantile Center and president of Franklin Realty Advisors, is the host of the event. Mercantile Center is sponsoring the Stanley Cup’s visit to Worcester along with being a partial sponsor of the Worcester Railers’ game that evening.
“WinterFest is the latest addition to our year-round programming in downtown Worcester,” Norton said in a press release. “We are pleased to present this free, fun, family event featuring the Stanley Cup at Mercantile Center, and to be a sponsor of Railers’ game that evening.”
The Railers were already planning on bringing the Stanley Cup back to Worcester for their game against the Norfolk Admirals when they partnered with Mercantile Center to feature the trophy during Worcester WinterFest.
Following the event, the Railers will play the Admirals at the DCU Center starting at 7:05. The Stanley Cup will move from the event to the DCU Center for fans to take a picture with from 6 to 8:30.
Chrisom said Norton is a great advocate and supporter of the greater Worcester community and wanted Worcester WinterFest to be open and free to the public.
Conventures has hosted a number of events in the Worcester area since 2015 and is known for doing First Night in Boston. The company brought on ice sculptor Steven Rose and his company Boston Ice Effects, which has made sculptures for Boston’s New Year’s Eve event for decades, to make the frozen art for Worcester WinterFest.
Rose and Ice Effects have formed blocks of ice into Statue of Liberty, castles, an eagle and much more. For Worcester WinterFest, they’ll feature an ice replica of the Stanley Cup along with many other carved wonders.
Along with ice sculptures, there will be a wide array of entertainment, including live music, interactive games, face-painting, fire throwers and more.
Make sure to come hungry. Food trucks will line the streets with various tasty treats, and Fuel America, a coffee shop in the Mercantile Center, will have coffee, sandwiches and salads. A beer garden will be open for the public to quench their thirst, including beverages from Flying Dreams Brewing Co.
“We’d like to make this an annual event and have different themes every year,” Chrisom said. “This year, we have the Stanley Cup, and next year we’ll do a different theme.”
She said there will be hockey-themed activities along with an opportunity to take a picture with the Cup.
After the event, fans can head a few blocks down to the DCU Center to cheer on Worcester’s hometown hockey team. Individual tickets to the Railers game start as low as $15 and can be purchased by calling 508-365-1750 or visiting RailersHC.com.
“It’s a great way to celebrate downtown Worcester and bring the community together,” Chrisom said. “We’re trying to celebrate winter.”
Parking for Worcester WinterFest is available at Mercantile Center Garage, 201 Commercial St., adjacent to the Plaza.