Have a High-tech Holiday with Santa HQ at Los Cerritos Center

Disclaimer: We were invited to check out the Santa HQ Welcome Party, a free event open to the public. We did receive a complimentary photo with the big guy as a thank you. No other compensation was received, and all thoughts and opinions are the author’s.

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Los Cerritos Center is bringing a special twist to your typical mall Santa. Everything is upgraded these days, why can’t Santa’s HQ be too? [Read more…]

Winter Fest is Coming to the OC Fair & Event Center

Winter is coming to the OC Fair & Event Center! Absolute Event Solutions (AES) is bringing something new and different to the OC with an all-new holiday spectacular, Winter Fest. The inaugural event will be a whimsical winter wonderland for Southern California residents that features unlimited ice tubing, the world’s largest walk-through ornament, festive entertainment, ice skating, VIP rink-side cabanas, live reindeer, a nightly Christmas tree lighting ceremony with snowfall, seasonal-themed eateries, libations, a carnival and much more.

Winter Fest will begin each morning with a snow-capped opening moment led by resident master magician, Jimmy H.  The fun and entertaining Chainsaw Chicks will also be at Winter Fest, carving out fantastic ice sculptures while engaging the crowd with their unbridled charm. Additional live entertainment includes local bands, strolling carolers, and performances by community organizations from around Orange County.

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Worried about the weather? Many of the Winter Fest attractions are inside buildings throughout the fairgrounds, so they can be enjoyed even in the rain!

In the Winter Fest Promenade, enjoy a variety of food and beverage options in a holiday atmosphere. Family-friendly dining will also be available in the Slippery Slope Ski Lodge (known as Baja Blues Restaurant during the OC Fair), featuring a ski-lodge vibe with holiday-themed cuisine and drinks, mountain décor, nightly live entertainment, and staff decked out in ski gear.

At the end of the Winter Fest Promenade stands a 30-foot Christmas tree, where you can gather around sundown at 5:30 p.m. for a heartwarming tree lighting ceremony with snowfall. Near the beautiful Christmas tree will be two of Santa’s reindeer, available for viewing and feeding!

Adults will love the Mistletoe Lounge, which will be offering holiday-themed cocktails, international craft beers, and comfortable seating amid the holiday décor and entertainment of the Winter Fest Promenade.

Tickets for Winter Fest for Monday through Friday start at only $10 online, $15 onsite for children age 4 – 11, and $20 online, $25 onsite for adults. Ticket Prices Saturday and Sunday are $15 online, $20 onsite for children age 4 – 11, and $25 online, $30 onsite for adults.  Children 3 and under are free.  Purchasing tickets online is highly encouraged to not only save money but also ensure the desired event date is not sold out.

Ticket prices include admission to event, plus the following activities:

  • Unlimited ice tubing down Snowflake Summit
  • One complimentary carnival ride
  • One complimentary carnival game
  • Entry to bounce houses for kids
  • Reindeer viewing and feeding
  • Access to the world’s largest walk-through ornament
  • Nightly Christmas tree lighting ceremony with snowfall
  • Craft making and games for kids
  • Daily & nightly entertainment

Not included in admission, but available to purchase onsite for $15 per person, is access to the 6,000 square foot ice skating rink inside the Hangar building! Beloved holiday films will be projected onto a theater-sized screen in the background of the rink for skaters to enjoy as they glide across the ice. Santa has even transported several sleighs from his collection to the Hangar building, and they will be on display for the first time ever at Winter Fest.

Elegant rink-side VIP cabanas will also be available for only $99 per session while they last, and accommodate 2 – 10 people but can adapt to fit parties of up to 100. The VIP cabanas offer exclusive menus with seasonally inspired food, cocktails, a private ice rink entrance and private servers. VIP cabanas are perfect for groups, parties, or a date with a loved one.

Can’t get enough winter fun? Adult season passes for unlimited admission into to all 17 days and nights of Winter Fest are available for $45 advance and online (limited supply); children’s season passes (ages 4-11) are available for $25 advance and online (limited supply).

For more information on Winter Fest and to purchase tickets, visit www.WinterFestOC.com.

 

Holidays are Jolly at Aquarium of the Pacific Holiday Treats Festival

The Aquarium of the Pacific has another great event coming up this weekend! The animals at the aquarium get to celebrate Christmas early as Santa dons a SCUBA suit to drop off treats for everyone! Santa will be visiting penguins, sea otters, seals, sea lions, birds, fish, and even swimming with sharks this weekend, December 5th and 6th at the Holiday Treats festival!

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The animals are not the only ones celebrating, though! Families in attendance can meet and greet penguins up close, see Santa Diver in action, and take photos with Santa in his traditional attire as well as with some holiday costumed characters.

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The festival will also feature Hanukkah storytelling and dreidel activities, holiday music, crafts, shopping, gingerbread house displays and more! To top it all off, snow will fall in the Aquarium’s Great Hall and guests can enjoy a snow play area on the front lawn (weather dependent).

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The Aquarium Holidays celebration will continue through December 24 with snow falls in the Great Hall, Santa Diver, and character appearances daily and music, penguin walks, visits from Santa, and the snow play area on weekends

For program times, head over to the Aquarium Holidays website.

The Holiday Treats Festival is open Saturday through Sunday, December 5th and 6th, from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, and is included in regular admission prices. Admission is $28.95 for adults (12+), $25.95 for seniors (62+), and $14.95 for children (3-11). Admission is free for children under 3 and aquarium members.

Don’t forget to show THIS FLYER for a free child admission with a paid adult!

For more information, directions, and tickets, visit the Aquarium of the Pacific website.

(All photos courtesy of the Aquarium of the Pacific)

Holiday Time at the New Outlets at San Clemente

Have you been to the new Outlets at San Clemente?

The Outlets at San Clemente is the first and only ocean-facing outdoor outlet shopping and dining destination in Orange County.

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The center is currently open, though they are still adding new shops and dining locations. Upon completion, the center will boast nearly 70 retailers and more than a dozen dining options, including four restaurants offering scenic ocean views.

Outlets Map

We stopped by The Outlets at San Clemente and were delighted to see how they were decked out for the holidays. The Christmas tree is stunning, and we found Santa and Mrs. Claus sitting at the bottom of it. They’ll be available to meet and take photographs with starting on Black Friday.

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We also spotted Santa’s reindeer, waving and jingling from above some of the stores. The attention to detail in the decor at the Outlets at San Clemente is just outstanding.

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Many of the shops in the Outlets at San Clemente are already open! You can find great deals at some of your favorite high-end retailers such as Calvin Klein, Cole Haan, Columbia Sportswear, GUESS, Tommy Hilfiger, Nike, and more.

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If you have some free time this week and want to beat the Holiday shopping rush, you’ll find the Outlets at San Clemente to be a beautiful and relaxing place to shop. Most of the stores already have their sales started.

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Fresh air, beautiful decor, scenic views, and a relaxed shopping environment that is great for the whole family. What more can you ask for? Oh yeah, dogs are welcome at the Outlets at San Clemente too!

Keep updated on the various holiday events and new shops and dining options opening at the Outlets at San Clemente by following them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Happy Shopping!

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Spicy Pork “Barba-Cola” Tamales with La Morena Chipotle Peppers and Coca-Cola

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #MejoresRecetas #CollectiveBias

When I think of the Holidays here in Southern California, I think of a few things – actually getting to wear boots and sweaters for a few weeks, extravagant tree-lighting ceremonies, and an abundance of delicious tamales.

Pork Barba-cola tamales

Tamales are known as a very labor-intensive food item. From slowly cooking the filling meat to a tender perfection, to hand kneading the masa dough and letting it rest, to carefully wrapping the tasty little packages in corn husks, there is a lot of work and a lot of love that goes into making them. That’s why it’s such a wonderful gift to receive when someone gives you a batch of tamales. You know that a lot of time and energy went into making them.

Traditionally, tamales are usually made on Christmas Eve, with the tamale-prep going late into the night, and the finished product finally being ready to eat on Christmas Day. The filling for these tamales are slow-cooked over night in the crock pot, and with the filling made ahead of time, I like to invite a few friends over to help with the assembly. It goes much faster, and everyone is happy because the end result is delicious tamales!

El Super Entrance

To make these, I first headed to El Super in Santa Ana to get my ingredients. [Read more…]

Santa is Coming to Irvine Park Railroad! (Giveaway)

The giveaway at the bottom of this post is provided by and will be fulfilled by Irvine Park Railroad. SoCal Locale is responsible for winner selection. Read more to find out how to enter to win an Irvine Park Railroad Christmas Train prize package valued at $93.00! (All photos courtesy of Irvine Park Railroad)

Christmas Train (1)

Christmastime is magical at Irvine Park Railroad! Starting nightly, November 27th through December 23rd, your favorite local railway transforms into a holiday wonderland!

Santa and Mrs. Claus

During this time, the train runs a little differently than normal. Instead of the usual round trip around the park, the Irvine Park Railroad Christmas Train makes a special stop at the North Pole! (Regular train rides are available from 10:00am to 4:00pm.)

Santa on State

Tickets for the train ride must be purchased online in advance. Tickets are only valid on the day and time selected, so plan accordingly. Times begin at 4:00pm. Some days have already sold out. You can buy your Irvine Park Railroad Christmas Train tickets here. (Note: If, after 4:00pm, all tickets have not sold out for the day, you may purchase the unsold tickets in person.)

Having Fun in the Coloring Corner

The Irvine Park Railroad Christmas Train is a very popular Orange County event. They recommend arriving as early as possible to ensure you don’t miss your ticket time. There are a variety of free activities for families to enjoy while waiting to board the train, such as the Christmas Coloring Corner, Story Time with Mrs. Claus, and Frosty’s Maze.

Carnival Games

There are also games, ice fishing, bounce houses, and cookie decorating activities that cost one activity ticket per person. Every child who plays a game wins, so no one walks away empty-handed.

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While you’re at Irvine Park Railroad, visit the Christmas Tree Ranch and take home your perfect Christmas Tree. The Christmas Tree Ranch offers three types of Christmas Trees; Douglas Fir, Noble Fir, and Grand Fir, with prices ranging from $40 to $150.

Santa Sitting on the Train

Santa is excited to see everyone at Irvine Park Railroad this Christmas season! For more info and ticket sales, be sure to visit the Irvine Park Railroad website. And don’t forget to enter below for a chance to win an Irvine Park Railroad Christmas Train prize package! The prize includes:

  • 4 Christmas Train Tickets
  • 4 Activity Tickets
  •  1 Wheel Fun Rentals at Irvine Park Bike Rental (excludes the double surrey)

Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Knott’s Season Passes – A Great Holiday Gift!

Disclaimer: The opinions in this article are my own. I do not work for, or with, any brand mentioned in this article, nor do I have any official relationship with them.  I have a relationship with GigaSavvy, for whom I create original editorial content.

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Are you looking for something fun and exciting for this year’s Holiday gifts? Knott’s Berry Farm has you covered with their affordable season passes! The 2016 Knott’ Berry Farm season pass gives you access to all of the great seasonal events that happen at Knott’s Berry Farm (excluding Knott’s Scary Farm), plus discounts on food and merchandise. Included with your 2016 season pass is one visit during 2015, which means you can visit Knott’s Merry Farm this year, as well as next year!

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If you’ve never had a chance to visit Knott’s during the Holiday season, now is the time to go! There is a lot to love about Knott’s Merry Farm. The halls are decked and the Peanuts gang are out and about in their best snow day gear. It’s the perfect place to make new Holiday memories and create great family traditions.

Santa and Snoopy

Knott’s Merry Farm includes all kind of fun activities. From thrilling attractions and live entertainment, to a craft and artisan fair and festive holiday decorations, to delectable holiday foods, there is something for every member of the family.

Signature Spin

A fan-favorite returning this year is the Merry Christmas, Snoopy! ice show. The show is packed with fun and whimsical scenes as Snoopy enjoys all of the best parts of the season such as trimming the tree and attending the Christmas Ball alongside some amazing world class ice skaters. Showing in the Charles M. Schulz Theatre on select dates from November 21st through Jan 3rd, this is a one-of-a-kind performance that you don’t want to miss.

Inside Christmas Cabin

During Knott’s Merry Farm, The Wildnerness Dance Hall in Ghost Town becomes Santa’s Christmas Cabin. This transformation brings holiday delights like Santa’s homemade cookies, freshly roasted nuts, seasonal craft beers, and other Knott’s holiday treats all under one roof for guests to sample as they wait to meet and take a photo with Santa Claus.

Calico Carolers

Guests can also get into the Christmas Spirit in the Knott’s Christmas Craft Village, located right in the middle of Ghost Town. Booths full of beautiful handmade gift items line the streets, so you can do a little holiday shopping while the Calico Carolers stroll through serenading you with seasonal favorites. Another highlight of the Christmas Craft Village is the glass-blowing and chainsaw sculpting demonstrations done throughout the day. The Village is included with regular park admission, and is also open to the public for free Monday through Thursday, November 23rd through December 10th.

Engine 41 Sing-a-long

Throughout the day, guests can find themselves entertained by a variety of fun and family-friendly shows and activities. Knott’s Merry Farm entertainment includes Christmas Time is Here, Charlie Brown in the Camp Snoopy Theater, Christmas on Engine 41, A Christmas Carol and A Gift of the Magi in Ghost Town’s historic Bird Cage Theatre, Krazy Kirk and the Hillbillies also in the Birdcage Theatre, and The Ghost Town Miners on the Fireman’s BBQ Stage.

Santa in Sleigh

Every night, when the sun goes down, it’s time for Snoopy’s Merriest Tree Lighting. Santa and Snoopy join together, along with elves, toy soldiers, snowmen, and more to light the towering Knott’s Merry Farm Christmas tree.

Snow and Glow in Ghost Town

This year, you can also catch the nightly snowfall in even more places than before! The buildings of Ghost Town will twinkle as snow falls from the School House to the Saloon and down to the Assay Office!


Snow at Knott's Merry Farm

Christmastime is alive and well at Knott’s Merry Farm, and there’s no better way to celebrate the season! Get your 2016 season passes now and enjoy your free 2015 visit! Daily admission to Knott’s is $67 at the gate or $43 if you purchase online. Children 3-11 are $37. For more info, directions and hotel deals, visit Knotts.com

 

The Third Annual OC Brew Ho Ho: The Naughty List is More Fun!

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Brew Ho Ho! is back! The third annual holiday-themed beer festival is taking place at The Anaheim Phoenix Club on Saturday, December 13. The event comes courtesy of Brew Ha Ha Productions, a team who consistently presents the most talked about beer festivals in Orange County and beyond. This year will be no different, and is already emerging as one of the most anticipated events yet, setting sales records and attracting the finest breweries from across Southern California.

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This year’s unprecedented selection of more than 60 beers on tap will span beloved familiar brews, seasonal and winter ales, and holiday-themed beers. Attending breweries include; Ballast Point, Bootleggers Brewing Company, and Cascade –  this is only a handful of the artisans who will be sampling their satisfying brews.

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Brew Ha Ha Productions are known for their exclusive collaboration brews, and this year’s Brew Ho Ho! special beer will unite Valiant Brewing in Orange with Black Market Brewing of Temecula. Their 13% ABV beer will be unveiled in the coming weeks and combines the flavors of vanilla bean, cherries, and smoked wood to create a complex and robust Russian Imperial Stout that will be available in bottles, as well as at craft beer-centric drinking establishments around Southern California for a limited time.

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The holiday ale festival will return to The Phoenix Club’s picturesque garden gazebo, located near the Pond in Anaheim. The event will offer the annual Brewery Merchandise Expo giving beer lovers a one-stop shopping experience. Photos with Santa Claus add to the jovial atmosphere, which is further enhanced by the Brew Ha Ha’s illustrious interactive games. Music from legendary DJ Richard Blade of Sirius XM and KROQ radio fame is back by popular demand, setting the musical tone for holiday celebrations.

The third annual OC Brew Ho Ho! Holiday Ale Festival will take place inside The Phoenix Club’s garden gazebo, located near the Pond in Anaheim . In addition to beer tastings and food offerings, the event will also include photos with Santa Claus, interactive games, a Brewery Merchandise Expo, and music from radio DJ Richard Blade.

Tickets are $55 per drinker, and $10 for Designated Reindeer (drivers). Tastings are from 12 – 4 p.m. with the Brewery Merchandise Expo open until 5 p.m. For more information and to purchase tickets visit www.ocbrewhoho.com.

Get Your Tickets for Irvine Park Railroad’s 2014 Christmas Train

Irvine Railroad Christmas Train
Irvine Park Railroad has opened sales for their annual Christmas Train event! For select nights during November and December you and your family can visit the Irvine Regional Park ride the train and enjoy activities in Santa’s Village located just behind the train station inside of Locomotive Loop. Activities include a Santa moon bounce, cookie decorating, carnival games, coloring corner, story time with Mrs. Claus, and more!
This enchanting night ride through beautiful and historic Irvine Regional Park — to meet and have your picture taken with Santa Claus — is a very popular event for visitors from across the Southland and beyond, it is required that you purchase your tickets online, and in advance for the date and time that you would like to ride the train. If you plan on visiting with family or friends, we suggest that one person be designated to buy your group’s tickets to help ensure that you can ride the train together. Bring your own camera to capture that special moment or family photo with Santa.
Tickets will sell out very quickly as this is a very popular event every year. Advance ticket purchase is required for all nights, and tickets are sold ONLINE ONLY on a first come, first served basis. Tickets will be available for pick up at the will call window on the night that you will be riding the Christmas Train.
The Christmas Train is open on the following dates:
  • November 28th, 29th & 30th
  • December 5th, 6th & 7th
  • December 12th – 23rd

Please visit Irvine Park Railroad online for full details on this year’s Christmas Train including dates, times, costs and other information. You can also see picture’s from past Christmas Train events.

Also, beginning Friday November 28th the Irvine Park Railroad will have their Christmas Tree Ranch open. Families can pick out the perfect Christmas tree from a variety of Douglas, Noble, and Grand fir trees available for sale. Be sure to print out a $5.00 off coupon before you go.