An all-new holiday attraction is coming to Orange County, Winter Fest at the OC Fair & Event Center opening December 18 and continuing through January 3, an event created by Absolute Event Solutions (AES). The festival embodies the spirit of the winter season, bringing fun and merriment to sunny Southern California. Experience ice-skating with a theater-sized screen playing holiday films in the background, ice tubing down a 130-foot, six-lane ice slide, nightly snowfall and tree lighting, festive entertainment, reindeer feedings, and more than 30 carnival rides and games. Winter Fest is filled with seasonal foods, craft cocktails, magical lights, and holiday décor including the world’s largest ornament.
“We love creating events that instantly engage and delight guests of all ages,” Mark Entner, Absolute Event Solutions CEO, says. “This is an affordable holiday experience that ensures a fantastic adventure rain or shine, for seventeen days and nights during the traditional holiday school break. The fairgrounds are the perfect venue for Winter Fest, offering both indoor and outdoor space. The majority of the main attractions and entertainment are within buildings, essentially making Winter Fest ‘El Nino-proof.’ We’re thrilled to bring a wintry sense of wonder to Orange County, and we’re inviting the community to join us for what is sure to become an annual tradition.”
Passing through Winter Fest’s icy gates reveals a whimsical wonderland where guests can stroll through the center of the world’s largest illuminated ornament. Attendees can sample holiday treats while sipping hot cocoa or specialty craft cocktails, and enjoy activities for guests of all ages. Entertainment includes roaming holiday characters, performances by singers and artists, magicians, and a nightly Christmas tree lighting ceremony with snow flurries. Guests are encouraged to arrive early for Winter Fest’s opening moment each day, and stay throughout the night to enjoy all of the festival’s attractions.
Winter Fest offers the spirit of the holiday season at an affordable price, with admission starting at only $10 online. All tickets are a fantastic value, allowing unlimited access to tube down the 130-foot, six-lane ice slide (available for guests 42” and taller). Tickets also include one complimentary carnival ride and game in the midway, and access to themed bounce houses for young attendees. Admission also grants time with the most famous couple in the North Pole, allowing guests to meet Santa Claus, enjoy heartwarming tales from Mrs. Claus during story time, and partake in the elves’ arts, crafts, and games in the North Pole building.
Winter lovers seeking a premium experience are welcome to choose from an array of upgrades. Children of all ages can opt for festive face painting, balloon art, and official photos with Santa. Guests can also enjoy more than 30 carnival rides and games, reindeer graham cracker feedings, rides on the North Pole LTD trackless train, and ice-skating.
The Hangar building inside the fairgrounds will be transformed into an elegant festival space with a massive ice skating rink, where brilliant hanging snowflakes light up the ice below. Onlookers can watch skaters circle the rink while beloved holiday films play on the theater-sized projection screen in the background. Skating is available on a first come, first serve basis; $15 per person including skates. Skate assists are available for $5. Private, rink-side VIP cabanas are also available for $99 per session, creating a Winter Fest destination for holiday office parties, birthday parties, family retreats, or couples looking for a new way to celebrate date night. Each cabana holds up to 10 guests but can be expanded to accommodate parties up to 100. All cabanas offer a special menu with holiday inspired foods and craft cocktails, and a cabana server to attend to guests’ needs.
Frolicking throughout Winter Fest can stir up an appetite, which can be satiated with tasty treats and delicious libations. Guests can visit Mrs. Claus’ Bakery for sweets while watching live fudge cutting and cinnamon roll making. Merry wanderers with a heftier hunger can enjoy seasonally and internationally inspired foods, including soups in bread bowls, potpies, tamales, Chinese food, crepes, and turkey and stuffing. Traditional SoCal fun foods will also be available, including pizza, tacos, grilled cheese, and BBQ kabobs. Kettle corn and popcorn will be offered for guests on the go, and thirsty festival-goers can indulge in a tempting hot chocolate and martini bar. The OC fairgrounds’ traditional Baja Blues Restaurant will be re-imagined as a snow-covered ski lodge, where guests can enjoy food, libations, and local bands.
Winter Fest casts its icy spell over the OC Fair & Event Center for seventeen days and nights December 18 – January 3. Hours of operation are 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and 11 a.m. – 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Special hours of operation include December 24 (Christmas Eve) 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. and December 25 (Christmas Day) 2 – 11 p.m. Santa and Mrs. Claus will be present at Winter Fest every day and night through Christmas Eve, December 24.
Admission starts at only $10 online (for a limited time). Ticket prices Monday through Friday are $10 online, $15 onsite for children age 4 – 11, and $20 online, $25 onsite for adults. Ticket Prices Saturday and Sunday are $15 online, $20 onsite for children age 4 – 11, and $25 online, $30 onsite for adults. Children 3 and under are free. Tickets on sale now.
Adult season passes for unlimited access for all of Winter Fest’s dates are available for $45 advance and online (limited supply); children’s season passes are available for $25 advance and online (limited supply).
For more information on Winter Fest and to apply for your group to perform or for employment opportunities visit www.WinterFestOC.com.