About eight million lights, a thousand holiday trees and frequent “snow” are a part of the third annual WinterFest at California’s Great America. Past fan favorites — such as the Snow Flake Lake Ice Skating and the “It’s Christmas, Snoopy!” ice show — are back. On WinterFest’s Nov. 23 opening night, Dion Lim, ABC7 reporter, and John Hammond, ambassador for Best Buddies, lit the 65-foot-tall holiday tree at the center of the park.
“We want to bring holiday cheer to California’s Great America and allow our guests to see the park completely transformed into a winter wonderland,” said Lorraine Woodcheke, Communications Manager of California’s Great America. “Tinsel Town, one of the new areas, is retro-inspired. There are classic decorations reflecting old time cheer reminiscent of the 1920s.”
This year’s WinterFest also comes with horse and carriage rides, weather permitting and for an additional fee.
“The horses will go through the Hometown Square area of the park,” Woodcheke said.
In addition to Tinsel Town, another new area is Arctic Alley, where one can share their holiday blues with the moody Scrooge and Jack Frost. Around here are fire pits where chilly guests can warm up. Also, in this area are Jack Frost’s Igloo Village with its glowing and spacious igloos. Available for rent, these new igloos provide spaces for indoor lounging.
“Guests who rent an igloo get complimentary ice skating and carriage rides for their group,” Woodcheke said. “For guests who book an igloo, there’s a menu for them to order various foods from around the park. There are couches and a fireplace inside each igloo.”
Another new feature is the makeover of the Barney Oldfield Speedway, now a ride called the “Twelve Days of Christmas.” The ride allows guests to ride in an antique car along a track. In this holiday rendition, guests can practice their counting as they ride past lit up neon-inspired sculptures representing subjects of the popular Christmas song. For example, during the ride, “five golden rings” will greet riders.
For the first time, Great America will be open on New Year’s Eve.
“We’re doing two countdowns,” Woodcheke said. “We’re going to do the first countdown at 9 p.m. for families with little ones before we do our fireworks. Then at midnight, we’re doing another countdown with Snoopy at the Celebration Plaza.”
Visit www.cagreatamerica.com/play/winterfest for WinterFest’s open dates, hours of operation and other details.