Last week the inaugural WinterFest at California's Great America kicked off and from all indications it was a great openining for what will hopefully become an amazing annual holiday event in the Bay Area.
Be sure to check out all of the amaznig pictures below and let us know what you think. Click here for more information on WinterFest 2016.
Written by Andrew Cunningham
California’s Great America rolled out their very first WinterFest event last week, and we happily showed up to experience this great seasonal addition to the park.
WinterFest includes a huge variety of holiday lights, some special activities that are exclusive to the event, and limited rides and attractions. Overall, there are nine uniquely themed areas throughout the park: Snowflake Lake, Celebration Plaza, Orleans Plaza, Coca-Cola Polar Bear Plaza, Crafter’s Corner, Planet Snoopy, Candy Cane Lane, Toyland, and Hometown Square.
When you enter the park, you immediately find yourself at Snowflake Lake. The park’s iconic front entrance has been converted into an ice skating rink, and the neighboring observation tower has taken on a new theme as The North Pole.
Immediately behind Snowflake Lake and The Carousel Columbia is the park’s enormous Christmas tree. The tree anchors Celebration Plaza and is one of the most popular photo spots of the event.
To fit the new holiday theme of Celebration Plaza, the nearby Gold Striker gift shop was rethemed into a Christmas shop, complete with some (awesome) unique park merchandise and holiday displays.
Moving on from Celebration Plaza, Orleans Square was completely covered with very colorful lights.
One thing worth mentioning: Flight Deck and Gold Striker are the only two major thrill rides operating at WinterFest, and both had very long queues. I hope that Patriot will be added to the lineup next year to help spread out the crowds :-)
Coca-Cola Polar Bear Plaza takes up the area in front of FireFall. This area was featured a variety of nostalgic Coke advertisements, a meet-and-greet with a Coca-Cola Polar Bear, and a ton of red and white lights.
Sitting just beyond the Coke Plaza is Crafter’s Corner, an area dedicated to local Bay Area merchants. There are a series of booths set up in front of Mass Effect, each selling uniques gift items. We took a look at some grilling spices, soaps that look and smell like desserts, and some funny drink coasters.
The park has a backstage corridor, Candy Cane Lane, setup to connect Crafter’s Corner to Toyland, since the back loop of the park is not open past Planet Snoopy. This was a fun little area with cool gingerbread displays.
Closing the loop back to the front of the park, Hometown Square was covered with more traditional Christmas decorations.
Underneath Patriot, the park had live Reindeer for guests to interact with. This seemed like a very popular attraction for the kids in attendance!
That just about does it for my trip around WinterFest at California’s Great America! Many thanks to the park for inviting us out to check out the event. The event is off to a great start and I definitely recommend checking it out!