ORANGE COUNTY - Celebration Festivals is "bringing winter to the OC" with the return of Southern California's largest winter tradition - Winter Fest at the OC Fair & Event Center. This year, the forecast calls for 18 days of snow in a winter wonderland of fun as Winter Fest will run from December 21 through January 7, giving families additional time in the new year to enjoy more than 20 wintry activities that are back by popular demand. See Santa and his reindeer fly over the fairgrounds for four nights only before heading back to the North Pole on Christmas Day.
Winter Fest's giant wonderland of family fun and date night charm is a great value with tickets available starting at only $10. Season passes are also available for all 18 days of Winter Fest to capture plenty of Instagram-worthy pictures. Every admission ticket includes:
- Unlimited ice tubing down Snowflake Summit's 150-foot, 8 lane mountain of ice
- Snow Play area with real snow blown in daily – expanded this year!
- Festival of Lights two-million-light stroll-through holiday displays – 7 new lands!
- Nightly tree lighting celebration with parade of Winter Fest characters, snow flurries, fireworks and flying Santa and his Reindeer until he returns to the North Pole
- Winter Fest themed bounce houses and slides for kids
- The world's largest walk-through ornament and rocking horse
- Craft making and games in Santa's workshop
- Daily entertainment including live bands, magic from Jimmy H, and strolling carolers
- Character live shows and meet and greets from popular cartoons such as Thomas the Train, Sid the Science Kid, PJ Masks, and Buddy from Dinosaur Train
- Little Elves (Toddler) play area
- Santa's petting zoo
- Arcade games
- Snowboard Simulator
Additional attractions with a fee include:
- Ice Skating on a full outdoor rink
- Candy Cane carnival with more than 30 rides, attractions and games
- Pictures with Santa and Mrs. Claus in their cabin
"Winter Fest has become a go-to destination for Southern California families to celebrate the holiday season and we are proud to bring 'winter to the OC' for our third year of fun, food and entertainment," said Katrina Carlson, Events Director of Celebration Festivals. "We're bringing back all the attractions people love, from high-speed sledding thrills to a larger real snow play area, outdoor ice skating, and flying Santa and his Reindeer over the fairgrounds. Whether you choose to come for a day of carnival games and snow play, enjoy a holiday cocktail over evening entertainment, or ring in the New Year, Winter Fest has something for everyone to make lasting memories."
Each night, Winter Fest will celebrate with a parade of winter characters, featuring Mayor Frost, Mrs. Claus, the Ice Princess, Penny the Penguin, carolers, Toy Soldiers on stilts, and elves. With the Winter Fest characters circled around the 30-foot-tall Christmas tree, Mayor Frost will light the tree and thrill the crowd with fireworks, falling snow, and a surprise appearance from Santa and his Reindeer flying overhead through Christmas Eve.
Private, ice rink-side VIP cabanas start at only $69 per session, creating a destination for holiday office parties, birthday parties, family retreats or date nights. Each cabana will accommodate two to 10 people and can adapt to fit parties of up to 100 guests. The VIP cabanas offer exclusive menus with seasonally-inspired food, cocktails, a private ice rink entrance and private servers.
New Years Eve, Winter Fest plans to light up the sky with fireworks and a not-to-miss 3,000 beach-ball drop at midnight. For families looking for a fun experience to ring in the New Year with the East Coast, a special countdown, beach-ball drop and fireworks will be celebrated at 9pm.