The winter holidays are upon us as the calendar turns its page from November to December, and Wellington will kick off the festive season with Winterfest on Friday, Dec. 8 from 6 to 10 p.m. This free event is hosted by the Wellington Chamber of Commerce and the Village of Wellington at the Wellington Amphitheater, located at 12100 W. Forest Hill Blvd.
“Winterfest will have Blizzard Beach, sponsored by Palms West Hospital and the Children’s Hospital at Palms West, featuring a 75-foot zip line, 155-foot obstacle course, ‘Life-Size’ Foozball, ping-pong and Twister. There is also ‘snow’ and snowballs, kids’ treats and more,” said Michela Green, executive director of the Wellington Chamber, which is hosting Winterfest for the eighth straight year.
The entertainment-filled holiday event is free, with the exception of food, beverages and select activities.
The featured performer will be celebrity entertainer Vanilla Ice, who will be putting on “a full 1990s concert.” Robert Van Winkle, aka “Vanilla Ice,” is a Wellington resident who has come out year after year to support Winterfest, which will support the local nonprofit Little Smiles. There will also be musical and dance performances by local talent, a Kids Winter Wonderland Village, exhibitors, vendors, as well as a beer and margarita garden.
Winterfest has teamed up this year with KVJ Show radio personalities Kevin, Virginia and Jason of WRMF 97.9 FM.
“Twelve years ago, the Vanilla Ice Holiday Block Party began as a massive keg party, with live music, in a field in Lake Worth,” they said. “Since then, it has evolved and moved from Clematis Street to Downtown at the Gardens, and will finally land in a logical location this year, Wellington — Vanilla Ice’s hometown. In partnership with Wellington Winterfest, we plan on presenting the biggest family event of the entire year in Palm Beach County. We are hoping to smash previous years’ records for toy donations to our charity, Little Smiles.”
Little Smiles helps children facing devastating circumstances, including terminal illness, abandonment and other trauma. The professionals working with them understand each child’s unique situation and how to help them heal, but they often lack the resources to make them smile. That is why they turn to Little Smiles, which provides volunteers, supplies and money to make it possible for caregivers to add joy to the lives of the children they care for. For more information, visit www.littlesmiles.org.
The presenting sponsor of Winterfest is Chukker.TV, led by president and executive producer Michael Ferreira, who is also the current president of the Wellington Chamber.
“This year, I have the pleasure to not only be the presenting sponsor of this event, but also the president of the Wellington Chamber of Commerce,” he said. “This event brings to the residents of Wellington a one-of-a-kind holiday event like none other in Palm Beach County. We are so grateful to our headline performer, Vanilla Ice, for continuing to participate each year. Chukker.TV and the Grand Champions Polo Club are honored to participate each and every year.”
Vanilla Ice is encouraging everyone to “get ready for a good time.”
“Get in where you fit in, because it’s going to be the best time ever,” he said. “We’re going to have thousands of people, and we’re going to have everybody dancing and having a good time, but the main thing is it’s all for a good cause.”
When it comes to parking, complimentary shuttles will be transporting guests from the following locations: the original Wellington Mall (12794 W. Forest Hill Blvd.), the Mall at Wellington Green (10300 W. Forest Hill Blvd.), the First Baptist Church of Wellington (12700 W. Forest Hill Blvd.) and the Wellington library (1951 Royal Fern Drive).
There is also the option of parking and walking to Winterfest from either St. Peter’s United Methodist Church (12200 W. Forest Hill Blvd.) or the Chancellor Corporate Center (12008/12012 South Shore Blvd.).
All those who are attending are asked to follow all signs and security wherever they park, and to be aware that some locations will boot or tow vehicles whose owners park there.
“Winterfest has more than 60 vendors and exhibitors, four hours of live performances, the Mix Masters Lounge, the tree lighting, a ’Twas the Night Before Christmas reading with Mayor Anne Gerwig, the Little Smiles toy drive, pet adoptions, retail shopping, fantastic food for all tastes and more,” Green said.
To learn more about Winterfest, call the Wellington Chamber at (561) 792-6525 or visit www.wellingtonchamber.com.