Holidays

The North Pole Will Materialize in Costa Mesa During ‘Winter Fest OC'

Just about everything to do with a cheery/chilly festivity will pop up at this mega and merry happening, with ice tubing, snowboard simulations, and Santa sightings ahead.

Winter Fest OC

What to Know

  • Nov. 25 through Jan. 1, 2023; 26 days and nights total (closed some weekdays)
  • OC Fair and Event Center in Costa Mesa
  • Tickets start at $19.95 adult, $14.95 child; passes are available; look for discounts for first responders, nurses, teachers, veterans, and military members on select dates

We've already witnessed some wild and wintry weather this month, but the truth is this: Southern California didn't quite assume the appearance of the North Pole, even with all of the winterlike wetness that swept through the region in early November.

But there shall be a few special locations that go for way-up-north-ish vibe in the coming weeks, offering locals the chance to take a cheery jaunt to a joy-filled holiday place without needing to reserve a spot on a magical sleigh. (Magical sleighs, all in all, are a little pricey anyhow.)

The OC Fair & Event Center is one such fa, la, la location.

True, the Costa Mesa destination is sunnily synonymous with a huge warm-weather party — that would be the OC Fair, of course — but Winter Fest OC brings the brrr, and the bounty of activities, just after Thanksgiving wraps.

And we do mean "just after," for the 2022 extravaganza debuts on Friday, Nov. 25.

We say "2022 extravaganza" but Winter Fest OC will push into 2023, at least for a lively last call: New Year's Day is the final date of the festivity's engagement.

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Good to know?

Some weekdays will be closed, but weekends will be rocking so booking your tickets sooner than later is the smart move.

And speaking of moving? Guests will do plenty of that, thanks to the huge host of sporty-sweet pursuits. Look for nine lanes of ice tubing (you'll tube down 150 feet, wheeee), a snowboard simulator, and more outdoorsy activities.

Prefer a more chill expression of the season? Savor a cup of cocoa, watch the nightly snow flurries, and say "hey" to Santa Claus, who'll be putting in several cameos.

A new walk-through experience called "North Pole Journey" is on the schedule, as are special events and offerings like the Fireside Lounge and cabanas close to the ice rink.

Live holiday tunes, strolling musicians, photo opportunities (including a mega walk-through ornament), and a bevy of decorated trees will up the North-Pole-y air of the affair.

"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 Katrina Carlson, executive producer of Winter Fest OC.

"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!"

For tickets, times, and everything to know before you ho, ho, go, take your elf, er, self by this site now.

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