Winter wonderland blows into Costa Mesa’s Balearic Park
Snow came to Costa Mesa’s Balearic Community Center early Saturday morning, not through Mother Nature’s hand but through the work and planning of Realtor Valerie Torelli, who created her first Snow Land in 1989 and never looked back.
Torelli recalled seeing the city of Costa Mesa blowing snow in the park for an employee event in the late 1980s and becoming inspired to create her very own neighborhood winter wonderland.
“I called the city and said I’m going to pay for it and sponsor it and take it to the next level,” she said. “And we’ve never missed a year until last year, when they wouldn’t let us do it.”
Balearic Snow Land is one of several Torelli Realty-sponsored events throughout the year, along with annual neighborhood garage sales, an Easter egg hunt, Fourth of July parade and an in-house pumpkin patch, where clients can score a free gourd during Halloween.
But for people who live in Costa Mesa’s Mesa Verde neighborhood, Balearic Snow Land is a prime opportunity to get out and meet one another, enjoy wintertime treats and take photos with Santa Claus.
In years past, Saint Nick has made his arrival by fire engine and, for several years, landed on site via helicopter. On Saturday, with the pandemic still wearing on, Santa’s grand entrance included a convertible and fire department escort.
In addition to trouncing through nearly 50 tons of snow, kids enjoyed a bounce house, cookie decorating, pony rides and a petting zoo. It’s not an elaborate fete, Torelli said, just something intended to generate a little holiday spirit.
“It doesn’t have to be big,” she added. “It just has to be from the heart.”
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