Winter Fest returns to Orange County

Snow is coming to Orange County.

These ice crystals don’t stem from Mother Nature; rather, they come courtesy of Winter Fest, a holiday festival that will be held at the OC Fair & Event Center from Dec. 21 to Jan. 7.

In its third year, Winter Fest will feature a host of holiday-themed attractions, including a snow play area, a petting zoo, ice skating and a snow tubing mountain.

Many of the event’s regular attractions will return this season.

Considered a favorite in previous years, the 150-foot Snowflake Summit will offer eight lanes of snow tubing and the Festival of Lights walk-through will showcase holiday displays adorned with 2 million lights.

Alpine Village, a new addition to the event, will feature a snow play area and an inflatable maze. Attendees can also see model trains zip through small Christmas villages — an attraction returning from the event’s inaugural year.

There also will be carnival rides, games and a variety of events.

Penny the Penguin, the Ice Princess and other Winter Fest characters will lead a parade at 5:30 p.m. every day, leading up to the lighting of a 30-foot Christmas tree with fireworks and falling snow.

Also, Santa and his obligatory reindeer will “fly” over the grounds during the first four nights to usher in Christmas.

“It’s really magical,” said Kim Coutts, community outreach director of Winter Fest.

The festival will hold New Year’s Eve celebrations at 6 p.m. and midnight.

Tickets can be purchased online at $12 for kids and $17 for adults. Regular admission includes everything except carnival rides and ice skating.

A platinum pass that includes unlimited carnival rides and ice skating can be purchased for $38.

For a VIP experience, private cabanas next to the ice rink can be purchased for $69 per session. The cabanas include exclusive menus with cocktails, holiday foods and private servers.

Winter Fest will be held at OC Fair & Event Center, 88 Fair Drive, Costa Mesa. For tickets and hours of operation, visit



1:34 p.m. Dec. 8: This article was updated with revised ticket prices.

This article was originally published at 4 p.m. Dec. 7.

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