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Winter Fest OC returns to SoCal with new North Pole Journey

by Samantha Davis-Friedman

Winter Fest OC – Southern California’s largest winter festival – is returning to the Orange County Fair & Event Center in Costa Mesa, Calif., from Nov. 25, 2022-Jan. 1, 2023.

Winter Fest OC
Photos courtesy of Winter Fest OC

Back this year in-person (and better than ever), Winter Fest OC transforms the OC Fair & Event Center into a winter wonderland with family-favorite activities, including outdoor ice skating under the stars, a nine-lane 150-foot-long ice tubing slide, ice bumper cars, LED mini golf, carnival rides, trackless train rides, and a snowboard simulator.

Also returning are winter-themed bounce houses, an arts and crafts area, a holiday market, seasonal food and drinks, and entertainment, including a nightly Holiday celebration featuring snow flurries and Santa, meet and greets with favorite characters, tribute bands, and winter-themed photo ops with the 30-foot-tall giant walk-through ornament and giant Christmas trees.

New for 2022 (and included in all general admission tickets) is the North Pole Journey immersive walk-through experience that takes guests to North Pole Village on a mission to meet Santa and save the holidays.

Winter Fest OC - Christmas Market

“We are so excited to bring Winter and Holiday magic back to the OC and celebrate being together again with our reimagined winter wonderland festival,” said Winter Fest OC Executive Producer Katrina Carlson. “This year, we’re bringing an all-new event with the most popular activities of Winter Fest OC and even more fun for kids and adults alike, including new ice attractions, performances, food and drinks, shopping, and much more. Plus, the immersive favorites from the last two years of our wildly successful “Night of Lights OC” production will be integrated into the new North Pole Journey walk-through experience that’s included in every general admission ticket. We can’t wait to spread the joy of the season with our Southern California community and bring holiday magic to everyone!”

Winter Fest OC North Pole Journey

Guests will undertake an important mission from Santa as they travel from Forest Gate to North Pole Village in this walk-through experience that immerses them in the sights, sounds, and smells of the holidays – and as they pass through three Holiday Towns, they’ll need to collect an element of the holidays to help Santa take flight.

Along the way, they’ll enjoy holiday lights, music, unique photo opportunities, interactive activities, and visits with favorite Night of Lights and Winter Fest OC characters, including Yowie the Yeti, Snow Princess, Toyland Troupe, Toy Soldiers, Polar Bear, and of course, Santa.

Winter Fest OC Holidays & VIP Experiences

  • New Year’s Eve Orange Ball Celebration – Awarded by Reader’s Digest as one of the top New Year’s Celebrations in the U.S., guests can ring in the New Year twice with a special countdown, Orange Ball drop, fireworks, and unforgettable balloon drops at 6 p.m. and midnight.
  • Fireside Lounge ($20) – An exclusive area with comfortable seating, a private bar, fire pits for roasting s’mores, and a great view of the nightly holiday celebration.
  • Rink-Side VIP Private Cabanas ($99 for three hours)  – Private cabanas for up to 10 are the perfect place to take a skating break, complete with a private server. Cabanas can be adjoined to accommodate up to 250 people. Reserve now, as they typically sell out early.
  • VIP Ice Tubing Slide ($25)  –  Skip the line for the Ice Tube Slide with a dedicated VIP entrance and lanes (limited quantity available; height and size restrictions apply for tubes).

The Winter Fest OC pre-season sale starts Nov. 1, 2022, at 8 a.m. PT. General admission tickets start at $19.95 for adults and $14.95 for kids (ages three-12). A season pass is also available starting at $41.95 for adults and $36.95 for kids. Kids two and under are free. Discounts will be offered on select days to honor first responders, nurses, teachers, and military/veterans with proof of ID.

Select attractions require an add-on ticket or reservation:

  • Ice Skating (45-minute session) – $18
  • Ice Tubing Slide (1-hour session) – $15
  • Unlimited Carnival Rides – $30
  • Ice Bumper Cars (1 ride) – $10
  • LED Mini Golf – $5

Click here for more information.

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