By Callie Sharkey
Finding free family fun during the holidays is not always easy, but the Wellington Chamber of Commerce is bringing back its popular Winterfest event ready to entertain all ages on Friday, Dec. 7 from 6 to 10 p.m.
This free holiday event will take place at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center, located at 3400 Equestrian Club Road in Wellington.
While there are a variety of activities and entertainers throughout the evening, the lead role goes to a Wellington resident with nationwide fame.
“The highlight of the event is definitely our headline performer and local superstar Vanilla Ice,” said Michela Green, executive director of the Wellington Chamber.
Rob Van Winkle, aka “Vanilla Ice,” is more than just an icon in the music industry. Van Winkle is also a philanthropist and stars in the TV show The Vanilla Ice Project on the DIY Network, now in its eighth season.
The Vanilla Ice Block Party has become a part of the festivities over the past several years. This season, Vanilla Ice is joined by master of ceremonies Wes Kain and a variety of musical and dance performances.
“In addition, we have assembled an amazing cast of performers, food for all tastes and ages, as well as a lineup of exceptional vendors,” Green said.
Another popular musical performer is local talent Michaela Paige, who finished in the top 12 in season three of The Voice. Paige is among a group of young artists performing this year. Others include Alex Shaw, Alyssa Marie Coon, Catherine Boynton, Livia Jahan, Michael O’Leary, Rachel Robinson and Joshua Houchins.
For those who love gospel-themed music, performers G.L. Hodges and Vell P. have joined the lineup. Hodges is a vocalist often featured singing the national anthem at professional sporting events. Vell P. is a South Florida Gospel Music Awards nominee and has worked with Grammy-nominated and award-winning artists.
Additional performers include Nicky Greed, Tom Blake and Violet Rose to round out a variety of musical genres during the festivities.
The live entertainment is not limited to musical talent. Artists from the Precision Dance Conservatory, Dance Unlimited and the Solid Gold Twirlers are also slated to perform.
From the time the doors open at 6 p.m. there is food, shopping, exhibitors and the Blizzard Beach Kids Wonderland.
“Blizzard Beach will have slides, obstacle courses and entertainment for kids,” Green said. “We will have face painting, creative food kids love, Santa, ’Twas the Night Before Christmas read by Mayor Anne Gerwig, holiday music and more.”
Some additional features will include a 75-foot zip line, life-size games and real snow for making snowballs.
Winterfest is more than a party, it also supports a good cause. Once again, the chamber is partnering with the KVJ Show on 97.9 WRMF and the Little Smiles annual holiday toy drive. The organization’s intent is to reach the goal of $50,000 in gifts to children this year. Participants are encouraged to bring a new, unwrapped toy to the event.
Little Smiles is a nonprofit organization focused on providing volunteers, supplies and funding to caregivers working with children in difficult situations. For more information, visit www.littlesmilesfl.org.
Wellington Winterfest has become one of the largest free, family-friendly events in the area with more than 10,000 guests expected.
To help attendees capture and share their experiences, there will be inflatable LED photo booths and a social media sharing station. These are free for guests to enjoy. A special photo option is the snow globe photo booth.
“Artificial snow, snowballs, money and confetti are blown around inside,” Green said. “Fun props include boas, hats, sunglasses and signs. There are unlimited customized photo prints available.”
For adults wanting to partake in Winterfest’s more grown-up activities, there will also be a VIP Food & Wine Event. This is an exclusive event for VIPs and sponsors, and require tickets with a separate fee to attend. Tickets are available for purchase online through the Wellington Chamber.
Doors open to the public at 6 p.m., and the musical performances begin at 7 p.m. Event parking is also free.
For additional information about Winterfest, or to purchase tickets to the VIP Food & Wine Event, call (561) 792-6525 or visit www.wellingtonchamber.com.