Winterfest Returns With More Excitement
Winterfest, the area’s largest outdoor holiday celebration, is now guaranteed to be a reality through 2012 thanks to a unique public/private partnership between Arvest and the Lobeck Taylor Family Foundation. The 38-day event, open daily from Nov. 26, 2010 through Jan. 2, 2011, will feature outdoor ice skating beneath the skyline, delicious seasonal concessions, horse and carriage rides and free holiday entertainment on the ONEOK Outdoor Stage. This year’s celebration will feature several new enhancements including a nostalgic Ferris wheel and carousel and a Holiday Market in the Center Grand Lobby.
Thanks to a multi-year agreement which will help pay a portion of the massive operating costs associated with the festival, Arvest Winterfest presented with the Lobeck Taylor Family Foundation will include several more opportunities for charity nights to benefit local non-profits. The sponsorship provides for complimentary skating vouchers for at-risk youth, non-profits and charity groups along with more charity nights to feature half-price skating and discounted ride tickets for the public.
This year, Winterfest will expand its activities onto Frisco Avenue between 2nd and 3rd Street to include four amusement rides. An iconic Ferris Wheel, carousel, Windjammer and Gravitron will anchor the west end of the celebration while the 60’ x 150’ skating rink will remain the focal point on 3rd Street between Denver and Frisco Avenues. A climate-controlled warming tent and delicious seasonal concessions will be available for visitors looking to keep warm. Free entertainment on the ONEOK Outdoor Stage will take place adjacent to the rink beside the glass icon wall of the Center. Both the ice rink and amusement rides are open to the public daily. Prices for skating are $8.00 (with skate rental), $5.00 (with your own skates), and $5.00 for children three and under. Amusement rides will cost $2 – $4 each with a $10 armband available for unlimited rides for a day. Group and corporate rates are available.
Just steps from the rink will be Oklahoma’s tallest Christmas Tree. The massive 44’ tree will feature 35,700 glowing lights, 109,534 individual tips and a diameter at the base of nearly 30 feet. The beautiful lights throughout the festival and around the tree will provide an ideal backdrop for perfect holiday photographs.
Winterfest promises something for the entire family. Whether it’s delicious holiday concessions like gingerbread lattes, eggnog, or an old-fashioned horse and carriage ride through the streets of downtown, everyone is sure to find a favorite. This year, visitors can enjoy an even larger lineup of live outdoor entertainment on Fridays and Saturdays on the ONEOK Stage. Local nonprofit groups, school choirs and bands, and musicians from area churches will all share the stage.
A variety of weekly promotions are scheduled during the festival. Every Monday, patrons will receive half price admission for skating and amusement rides with the donation of a non-perishable can of food to the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma. “Half-Price Mondays” are made possible through the generosity of Kum & Go.
On Tuesdays, visitors can skate/ride with the donation of a new unwrapped toy to the Salvation Army’s holiday toy drive on Dec. 7 and 14, or the donation of a new or gently used book to Volunteers of America of Oklahoma on Nov. 30, Dec. 21, or Dec. 28.
Every Wednesday throughout the festival, visitors can receive half-price skating or admission with the donation of a new or gently used coat, blanket, scarf or pair of gloves. These donations will benefit the Tulsa Day Center.
On Sundays, parents are invited to bring their children to meet “Segway Santa,” a jolly fellow who will make appearances around the plaza from 1-4 p.m. greeting guests, taking complimentary photographs and passing out candy canes.
On Dec.11, the annual Holiday Parade of Lights will journey through Downtown Tulsa and proceed down Denver Avenue in front of the Winterfest entrance. The parade will include a variety of spectacular floats, marching bands, dance teams, and giant helium balloons. Spectators are encouraged to come early that day and take a stroll through the all-new Holiday Market in the Center’s Grand Lobby from noon to 7 p.m. The market will feature vendors with seasonal items, “Made in Oklahoma” products and various baked goods. Segway Santa will make a special appearance for shoppers and parade goers from 3-6 p.m.
A full Winterfest calendar with prices and daily hours of operation is available online at bokcenter.com/winterfest.