The Winter Competition heralds the season with a Christmas get together within the Civic Plaza »Albuquerque Journal

The participants of the Winterfest run on the Ice Qube ice rink at the Civic Plaza. (Courtesy Damian Lopez-Gaston)

Do a few laps around the ice rink or enjoy comfort food during the New Mexico Winter Festival.

The event on Saturday November 30th is celebrating its fifth year in the heart of downtown at Civic Plaza. The Ice Qube ice rink is celebrating its grand opening as part of the Winter Festival.

“It’s not ice,” said Damian Lopez-Gaston, director of events at the Albuquerque Convention Center. “It’s a synthetic skating service that we set up. You can bring your own skates or rent skates for $ 3. Otherwise it’s free to skate. This is the first day of the Ice Qube rink and lasts until the end of December. It is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. “

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Another great feature is the Winterfest holiday market.

“Where there will be 20 to 25 providers,” said Lopez-Gaston. “Mostly artisans who sell items that can definitely be given away as Christmas presents on the square. The Winterfest Holiday Market is a great way to celebrate Small Business Saturday. These are all local vendors selling their items. They are all local, small businesses. “

Christmas carols will get attendees in the holiday mood, as will New Mexico comfort foods, popular this time of year.

“We’ll have our concession booths serving New Mexican Comfort Food,” said Lopez-Gaston. “I think we will have green chilli stew and tamales, as well as eggnog, hot chocolate and adult drinks. We’re going to have microbreweries available, and I think our food and drink folks are making a spiked hot chocolate and, I think, Bailey’s and coffee, seasonal drinks for the adults to keep you warm. “

The drinks for adults can be enjoyed on the entire square.

“What we are doing is that the entire space is designated as a beer garden,” said Lopez-Gaston. “We are closing the entire place. When you step into the square, forget that you are in an enclosed area as this area is so large that people can run around watching their kids skate on the rink and enjoy a drink or good New Mexican comfort food . ”

Winterfest is an event in Albuquerque, but ASM Global, which manages the Albuquerque Convention Center, handles events in the Civic Plaza.

“If the city is hosting an event like the summer festival or something else, we are out there with the logistics to make it happen,” said Lopez-Gaston. “But it really is a city, a cultural services event. But sometimes we also do our own events, like the children’s festival, like the film series, like the winter festival, and these are events that we produce out there. It’s not taxpayers money or anything like that, but we put it together to get people into the square because we want people to come out and enjoy our town square. “

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