SAN FRANCISCO – An ice rink steps away from San Francisco City Hall and modeled after the famed Wiener Eistraum of Vienna opened today, the latest attraction in a Civic Center area now rich with art, entertainment and family-friendly fun.
The Winter Park at Civic Center, operated by Willy Bietak Productions, will remain open until Jan. 6 and joins a variety of creative venues transforming the area into a coveted destination both for neighborhood families and tourists. Bi-Rite Cafe opened its doors in Civic Center Plaza last month, and two state-of-the art playgrounds opened earlier this year. Surrounding blocks boast outdoor art, free performances, and food trucks.
San Francisco Mayor London Breed kicked off The Winter Park’s opening ceremony with Olympic gold medal-winning figure skater Brian Boitano, San Francisco Recreation and Park Department General Manager Phil Ginsburg, and Willy Bietak, president of Willy Bietak Productions.
“Since taking office, one of my priorities has been working with our City departments to make Civic Center a more welcoming place for all our residents,” said Mayor Breed. “We have made consistent progress over the past few months and the Winter Park is yet another great addition to the area. I am excited for people to be able to come together and celebrate with those they love this holiday season.”
Approximately 200 children from Tenderloin elementary schools and Boitano’s Youth Skate program took to the ice after watching performances by professional skaters and children from the Yerba Buena Ice Skating Center.
With more than 3,000 kids in kindergarten through 12th grade, the Tenderloin is home to more schoolchildren than any other neighborhood. Willy Bietak Productions is partnering with San Francisco Unified School District and SF Rec and Parks to offer field trips to Tenderloin students that includes free skating sessions, guidance from skate instructors and healthy snacks. In addition to Tenderloin students skating for free, all children, no matter where they live, will enjoy $5 admission and skate rental every day before 3:30 p.m.
“All San Franciscans deserve to experience holiday magic, especially those right here in the neighborhood. The Civic Center is coming alive and we want everyone to reap the benefits,” Ginsburg said.
Willy Bietak Productions is also focused on giving back to the community. It is holding a Socks in the City Drive from Dec. 21-23, during which visitors to the ice rink are asked to donate new socks when they come to skate. The socks will then be donated to St. Anthony’s for distribution to people living in shelters and on the streets.
“We are thrilled to expand our seasonal offerings to a new part of the City,” said Willy Bietak, President of Willy Bietak Productions. “We are striving to ensure that The Winter Park is a space for everyone, and we are proud to be partnering with local schools and organizations to create holiday magic for the entire community.”
In addition to the traditional ice rink, The Winter Park will include a 400 square foot track winding through a lighted tree forest. It will also host a series of special events, including Learn to Curl Sessions, First Responders Appreciation Days and more. For more information, please visit winterparkicerinksf.com