Seattle Center Winterfest Opens Friday With Free Festive Events

The annual Seattle Center Winterfest opens on Friday, November 23rd with FREE family-friendly events that run through January 6th.

The Seattle Center will be decorated with tree lights and luminata and the Winterfest Ice Rink returns to Fisher Pavilion. And, the newly restored Seattle Center Armory will host many activities, with the Winter Train running daily to create a festive holiday atmosphere.

All Winterfest events are FREE with the exception of admission to the Ice Rink and donations for controlling the Winter Train – cash only for both. And, it’s worth noting that the adult admission for the Ice Rink is still only $7, the same price as the past two years!

Winterfest Ice Rink, Fisher Pavilion
Nov 23 – Jan 6
Sunday – Thursday: 11am – 8pm
Friday – Saturday: 11am – 10pm
Note: closes at 4pm on Dec 24; closed on Dec 25; closes at 11:30pm on Dec 31
Cost: $7 for adults, $5 ages 6-12, and $2 ages 5 and under (includes skate rental) Cash only. FREE admission to watch.

Winter Train & Village
Seattle Center Armory / Center House
Nov 23 – Jan 6, 10am – 6pm
Note: closed Dec 25 and Jan 1
A turn-of-the-century village in miniature size, with garlanded homes and buildings, snowy streets and a moving model train. Take a turn controlling the train between 10:30am-12pm, 1pm-2:30pm and 3:30-5:30pm daily ($2 suggested donation. Cash only)

Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestra
Seattle Center Armory / Center House
Friday, Nov. 23, 12:30pm
Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestra, one of the nation’s largest and most noteworthy classical music youth ensembles, opens Seattle Center Winterfest with a performance of seasonal works.

Ice Sculpting, Outside Fisher Pavilion
Saturdays, Nov 24 and Dec 1, 8, 15, 22 and 29, 12 noon – 2pm
Each Saturday an internationally acclaimed, award-winning ice master carves a different design.

Seattle Men’s Chorus
Seattle Center Armory / Center House
Saturday, Nov. 24, 12:30pm
Performance by the world’s largest gay men’s chorus and a “voice for acceptance” in the community and across the country.

There’s No Place Like Home
International Fountain
Saturday, Nov 24, 4pm
Art installation and site-based participatory performance by Lucia Neare Theatricals.

Cat Pack with Unexpected Productions
Seattle Center Armory / Center House
Sunday, Nov 25, 12:30pm
Seattle’s long-running comedy improv troupe in a musical show inspired by the Rat Pack era.

Winterfest Student Showcases
Seattle Center Armory / Center House
Nov 26 – Jan 6, varied times
Student Showcases offer entertainment as part of seasonal events and  provide public and private schools and youth performance groups the opportunity to share their artistic accomplishments.

The Magic of the Moment: PTSA Reflections
Harrison Street Gallery, Seattle Center Armory / Center House 3rd Floor
Dec. 10 – 31, 9am – 9pm
The exhibit features selected artwork of Seattle Public School students created within a theme of “The Magic of the Moment.” Finalists will enter statewide competition.

Bailadores de Bronce
Seattle Center Armory / Center House
Saturday, Dec 15, 12:30pm
Bailadores de Bronce teaches and performs Mexican folkloric dances in Seattle and throughout the Pacific Northwest. The high energy and enthusiasm of the dancers combined with beautiful costumes convey the richness of their culture.

Klez Kidz
Seattle Center Armory / Center House
Sunday, Dec 16, 12:30pm
Intergenerational group of musicians, singers and dancers presents interactive concerts of world Jewish music and mirth.

SANCA Youth Performance Company
Seattle Center Armory / Center House
Saturday, Dec 22, 12:30pm
SANCA Youth Performance Company performs original acts in aerial arts, juggling, tightwire, clowning, unicycle and acrobatics.

Garfield High School Jazz Band
Seattle Center Armory / Center House
Sunday, Dec 23, 1pm
Enjoy the seasonal sounds of the esteemed Garfield High School Jazz Band under the direction of Seattle’s own jazz great, Clarence Acox.

The Dickens Carolers
Seattle Center Armory / Center House
Saturday, Dec 29, 12:30pm
A quartet of Victorian costumed carolers sings your favorite seasonally-themed music on Seattle Center Armory Stage.

Eastside Modern Jazz Orchestra
Seattle Center Armory / Center House
Sunday, Dec. 30, 12:30pm
Eastside Modern Jazz Orchestra presents an electrifying mix of funk, Latin, jazz-rock fusion and contemporary jazz.

New Year’s Eve Celebration with The Rhythm Nation
Seattle Center Armory / Center House
Monday, Dec 31, 8:15pm – 11:45pm
The Rhythm Nation is the ultimate party band, playing a diverse mix of popular dance, R&B, rock and old school music drawing from the 1970s through the 1990s to the current hits of today.

Microsoft Jumpin’ Jive Orchestra
Seattle Center Armory
Saturday, Jan. 5, 12:30pm
An adjunct music group of the non-profit organization The Dissonance, the Microsoft Jumpin’ Jive Orchestra (MJJO) is a big band composed of players who work at or have worked for Microsoft.

Winterfest in full swing at Seattle Center

Channukah has passed, we’re just five days away from Christmas, and 12 from New Years—it’ amazing how fast December has zipped by! If  you haven’t yet had a chance to get out and experience some the festivities that the holiday season has to offer, Queen Anne-ers might want to check out some of the options right here in our own backyard—Seattle Center Winterfest.

Winterfest offers fun and often free activities at Seattle Center through Friday, December 31, including a winter display at the Center House, the classic Winter Train and Village, winter ice rink, and a number of events and shows—from comedy, jazz and dance, to ice sculpting, fireside singing, showcases and cultural celebrations.

One of the most popular Winterfest events, the ice rink, will be open through Sunday, January 2, 2011 in Fisher Pavilion. Hours are 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. (The ice rink will close at 4 p.m. on December 24, will be closed all day on the 25th, and will close at 11:40 p.m. on December 31). Admission is $7 for adults, $5 for children ages 6 to 12, and $2 for children 5 years old and younger (cash only). This fee includes skate rentals.

There are still tons of special events to catch at Seattle Center before Winterfest comes to a close. Check the full schedule of upcoming events here! Here are just a few of the events coming up this week and next:

The Noise Guy—Tuesday, December 21, 11:30 a.m., Center House, FREE

Charles Preston Williams writes, illustrates and performs funny stories for kids. His live performance mixes a human generated soundscape with classic tales, creating a unique brand of storytelling that captivates and entertains.

SANCA Acrobatics & Circus Arts—Tuesday, December 21, 2:30 p.m., Center House, FREE

Founded in 2006, the SANCA Youth Performance Company utilizes a variety of disciplines, including trapeze, juggling, tightwire, unicycle and acrobatics to fascinate young and old alike.

Mad Science—Wednesday, December 22, 1 p.m., Center House, FREE

Mad Science® is the world’s leading science enrichment provider, introducing children to a world of discovery while sparking their imaginations. Watch and participate in hands-on science experiences that are as entertaining as they are educational.

Zambini Brothers Puppeteers—Wednesday, December 22, 2:30 p.m., Center House, FREE

Based on Vashon Island, WA, Zambini Brothers is a troupe of puppeteer-artists who perform their splendiferously wonderful Giant Puppets, Roving Comedy Characters, Puppet and Comedy Shows at fairs, festivals, schools, libraries and events throughout the Pacific Northwest and beyond. Featured at Winterfest, The Tasty Tale of Brave Sir Bump.

Hot Dog USA – Exhibition Jump Rope—Thursday, December 23, 1 p.m., Center House, FREE

The Hot Dog USA Jump Rope Team is dedicated to inspiring, motivating and educating people of all ages, while fostering local, regional, national and international jump rope competitions, workshops and performances. The team has been competing and teaching jump rope workshops around the world since 1980. The team consists of about 50 boys and girls ranging in age from 6 years old to adults.

KlezKidz—Friday, December 24, 1 p.m., Center House, FREE
This multigenerational group of musicians, singers and dancers presents interactive concerts filled with World Jewish Music and mirth. You’ll hear the wail of clarinets and the rousing sounds of Israeli dance music and see bottles balanced on the heads of dancers.

New Year’s Eve Celebration with The Machine—Friday, December 31, 8 p.m., Center House, FREE

Ring in 2011 with the rocking sounds of The Machine. Known throughout the Pacific Northwest for their highly danceable covers of 80’s and 90’s hits, The Machine offers the best PARTY music in town – setting the stage for a magnificent display of New Year’s fireworks in the skies above Seattle Center!

Seattle Center Winterfest is part of Holidays in the City, and is sponsored by the City of Seattle, Seattle Center Foundation, Seattle Weekly and KOMO 4 TV.