Even without snow or cold weather in Newport Beach, we still have special ways to celebrate the holidays. Locally we have the Christmas Boat Parade, but just across our Newport border is Winter Fest, which is held at the Orange County Fairgrounds through January 6. This is their third year at the fairgrounds, and it’s gotten bigger and better every year.
The event is part summer OC Fair, complete with food selections and rides, and part Olde Fashioned Christmas with wandering singers and musicians, choirs and – new this year – a Dickensian Village, which harkens back to Victorian England and features costumed characters and unique gifts for sale.
Of course, back then residents were not able to enjoy a holiday Ferris Wheel, Tilt-a-Whirl, Zipper, or Carousel, which Winter Fest OC offers visitors at the seasonal carnival midway.
If you enjoy the snow you can compete in a snowball fight with the kids (of all ages) or enjoy the ice skating rink for a small fee. You can also bring your own skates. If you appreciate visual delights, there is a walk-through Festival of Lights with various shaped objects and animals outlined in festive lights.
And then there is Snowflake Summit, SoCal’s largest Ice Tubing Slide with eight lanes and a 150-foot run, a petting zoo, model railroad with a winter setting, and more seasonal delights.
The Winter Fest offers a throwback for kids of all ages and recalls the times when holiday time was about families, playing in the snow, and strolling leisurely while enjoying carolers.
Between Santa’s Petting Zoo, the world’s largest rocking horse and the world’s largest 30 foot Christmas ornament, Winter Fest is a visual delight.
Winter Fest runs through January 6. Winter Fest OC admission is $12 for kids and $17 for adults during the week and $14 and $19 for weekends. Special packages are available for multiple visits or including various amenities at the venue. Wearing the proper clothing is a good idea if you like to play in the cold.