The chill was unshakable, and all the chillier 65 feet in the air. That’s where 11-year-old Kaitlyn Jiminez found herself Saturday evening.
What a time for her to confront her fear of heights. Despite wind chills in the 30s, she made it through her first adventure on the Ferris wheel that is a new — and already quite popular — addition to the annual Christmas Village festivities around City Hall.
Kaitlyn and her mother, Ronda Histand, both of Wycombe, Bucks County, were among the crowds browsing past the dozens of merchants selling spices, artworks, and clothing, past the skating rink and the merry-go-round, on Small Business Saturday, the third day of the 2019 season.
Brian Phillips, 48, of Northern Liberties, loved the ride, but wishes the kiosk selling beer and mulled wine could have been closer.
Around 5:30, a light show, the work of the Philadelphia-based firm Klip Collective, played on the face of City Hall. The columns looked as if they were swallowing peppermints. Projected icicles formed, grew, and crashed.
Michael Partesi, 7, of Cherry Hill, took in the action with his family after a day of activities, including ice skating. He didn’t hold back a rave review: “Sooooo coool.”
This year’s edition of the village will be open through Christmas Eve, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Christmas Eve.
More than 800,000 people visited the Christmas Village last year, according to organizers.
Now in its 12th year, the village this season includes the usual festivities in the German-style Christmas market in LOVE Park, the Made in Philadelphia Holiday Market at Dilworth Park, and the Acme Winter Memories area in the City Hall Courtyard. Also returning is the Christmas Village Carousel inside the courtyard, and “The Present” — a 27-foot-tall, walk-through present that has more than 100,000 lights — in LOVE Park.
The Ferris wheel, which costs $4 a ride, occupies the Wawa Holiday Plaza on the north side of City Hall, serving as a fourth Christmas Village location.
Many of the Ferris wheel riders said they were not bothered by the cold, even though it tends to get chillier with height; ask anyone standing on a five-story roof.
It wasn’t easy, Kaitlyn Jiminez recounted. There was an annoying buzzing sound that worried her the whole way around, she said. Still, she made it.