Ice Skating, Rides, Snow, Millions Of Lights, Santa & Holiday Characters To Deliver Merriment
The Bay Area’s newest and most immersive holiday tradition, WinterFest, will debut at California’s Great America on Friday, November 25. During WinterFest, Great America will be transformed into a winter wonderland where guests can skate in front of the iconic Carousel Columbia, admire magnificent displays of lights and décor, view spectacular live holiday shows, experience 20 rides and attractions, see Santa’s workshop and Mrs. Claus’ kitchen, and enjoy scrumptious holiday fare at numerous dining locations.
Bay Area Olympic figure Skater Polina Edmunds will serve as the celebrity tree lighter for WinterFest’s opening night on November 25. The park opens at 5 p.m., with the tree lighting at 5:30 p.m.
The winter scene will be dominated by one of the Bay Area’s tallest Christmas trees adorned with thousands of twinkling lights accompanied by giant toy soldiers greeting guests. This amazing new event will feature more than 7 million LED lights, creating such a vibrant experience that it will be visible from the International Space Station, more than 270 million miles away.
“WinterFest will be one of Northern California’s most spectacular winter events, delivering a unique experience where friends and families can create memories and traditions during the holiday season,” Great America’s Vice President and General Manager Raul Rehnborg said in a news release.
Nine unique and decorative themed areas will guide attendees through WinterFest. Guests can gaze at 20-foot-tall candy canes in Candy Cane Lane, experience snow falling in Hometown Square, adore Charlie Brown’s Christmas tree in Planet Snoopy and take photos with toy soldiers and oversized toys in Toy Land.
Live shows include a nightly tree lighting, carolers throughout the park, “It’s Christmas, Snoopy!” ice show and more. Guests will interact with holiday characters, including Jack Frost, Candy Cane and the Sugar Plum Fairy.
Children can decorate cookies with Mrs. Claus, take a picture with Santa, write holiday letters to family members and pet reindeer. Food specialties will include eggnog funnel cakes, peppermint churros, a turkey dinner sandwich, all-you-can-drink hot chocolate and many more traditional holiday favorites. (Some activities require additional fee.)
Among the 20 rides and attractions open during the event include Gold Striker, Flight Deck, Carousel Columbia, Flying Eagles and Planet Snoopy for younger guests.
Single day tickets are available online. Admission to WinterFest is included with a 2016 or 2017 Gold or Platinum Pass. The five-week WinterFest celebration will be open Fridays through Sundays, with daily operations December 19-23 and 26-30 from 5 to 10.p.m. and December 11 7 to 11 p.m.
From December 17-23, patrons can purchase a Pavilion Holiday Buffet (5 to 7 p.m.) for $16.49 (plus tax) that includes roast turkey with festive dressing, baked ham, mashed potatoes, steamed vegetables, vegetarian baked pasta, tossed salad, dessert squares, Christmas cookies and fountain drinks.