ST. LOUIS – A holiday season tradition kicks off this weekend in Downtown St. Louis as Winterfest returns to Kiener Plaza.
Organizers expect the celebrations will bring tens of thousands to St. Louis over the course of several weeks. Nearly 40,000 people attended Winterfest in 2022, a 40% increase from 2021.
Starting this Saturday through New Year’s Eve, people can enjoy ice skating, private igloo rentals, s’mores stations and more.
“Over the past eight years we’ve seen wedding proposals, first skating experiences, first timers playing hockey, and countless family memories made,” says Ryan McClure with the Gateway Arch Park Foundation.
This year’s Winterfest will showcase small businesses like food trucks and vendors.
“Not many companies really get to have the great fortune of having a national park in their front yard,” says Katie Fisher with the Bank of America. “We’re very lucky in that regard. It brings us together and connects us all. It is truly our biggest and best gem.”
“Just to see our employees out here with their families and their kids,” says Ann Mare, Executive VP Worldwide Technology. “Sometimes it’s the first time the kids have been on the ice, and they’re so excited.”
Winterfest kicks off early Saturday with a 5K race that runs through the Arch grounds. On Saturday night, the Festival of Lights will take place, lighting the Salvation Army’s Tree of Lights.
On Nov. 19 and Dec. 3, there will be free St. Louis Blues Try Hockey events. The partnership with the team first began in 2016 as a way to activate around the Winter Classic that was held at Busch Stadium.
“For us, a lot of it was just wanting to touch as many kids as possible and families and bring the Enterprise Center ice to all of St. Louis, and that’s what you’ve really helped us do,” says Chris Zimmerman with the St. Louis Blues.
One Nation Day is Dec. 2, bringing sports teams from St. Louis out to celebrate. New Year’s Eve celebrations and fireworks shows are also a family-friendly way to ring in the New Year.
Partnering with Bank of America and Worldwide Technology with support from Ameren, the St. Louis Blues and Greater St. Louis Inc., the groups are welcoming people back to Kiener Plaza for a bit of holiday cheer.