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Holiday Events and Festivities in Orange County

Dec 10, 2019 2:35:26 PM / by Giselle Baumet

December, the month of festivities. The month of Christmas, Hanukah, the start of Winter Solstice, the time of celebrations by many around the world. It’s a full, active month, while also being time for family and friends.

Orange County boasts with plenty of activities during the holiday season.  

Let’s feature some of the events happening here in Irvine and surrounding areas.

Newport Beach Boat Parade

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A classic here in Orange County, the Newport Beach Boat Parade is so much fun! It’s an event that’s not only free to attend, but also very family-friendly.

In this 111th Newport Beach Boat Parade, like the others before it, you’ll relish watching decorated yachts, boats, kayaks, and canoes pass by as you sit at one of the dining viewing areas or the many public viewing locations around Newport Beach.

This year’s schedule for the Newport Beach Boat Parade is:

 

Wednesday, December 18

6:15PM – Fireworks at Newport Pier
6:30PM –  Christmas Boat Parade Begins
Grand Marshal: Christina Anstead – Star of HGTV’s “Christina on the Coast” and “Flip or Flop

Thursday, December 19

6:30PM –  Christmas Boat Parade Begins
Grand Marshals: Newport Chamber Honors: Business Person of the Year Jim Walker and Citizen of the Year Nancy Gardner

Friday, December 20

6:30PM – Christmas Boat Parade Begins
Grand Marshals: The Young Americans

Saturday, December 21

6:30PM – Christmas Boat Parade Begins
Grand Marshals: A Salute to Hometown Heroes

Sunday, December 22

6:30PM – Christmas Boat Parade Begins
9:05PM – Fireworks at Balboa Pier (just after the parade concludes)
Grand Marshals: Corona del Mar High School Drum Line accompanied by Sugar Ray’s Stan Frazier

We recommend arriving early to find a good watching spot.

Winter Fest OC

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We don’t get snow here in Orange County…but we can bring in snow!  The Winter Fest OC is lively family event (or date night!).

 

Featuring ice tubing down an 9 lane, 150 foot mountain, massive snow play and slide area with separate areas for toddlers and kids with fresh snow blown in daily, ice skating on SoCal’s largest outdoor ice rink under the stars in the middle of Winter Fest OC, nightly Christmas tree lighting celebration with a parade of the Winter Fest OC characters, fireworks and snow flurries, plus a not to be missed experience with Santa and his reindeer flying over the fairgrounds through Christmas Eve, an all new Alpine Village with a new light maze and new wintery attractions, over 20 carnival rides and attractions, festive entertainment, seasonal eateries, visits with Santa and so much more. – WinterFestOC.com

Another cool (pun intended) part of Winter Fest OC includes the free concerts that are included with your entry ticket. This year’s line up include tributes to Queen, Taylor Swift, Selena Quintanilla, Elton John, and Fleetwood Mac.

 

Irvine Park Railroads Annual Christmas Train

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So many memories to be made at the Irvine Park Railroads Annual Christmas Train. It’s a charming train ride decorated for the holiday season. It’s especially lovely to do this event in the evening with the family.

After the train ride, children can visit Santa Claus. There are also other activities including cookie decorations, carnival rides, Rudolph racers, and ice fishing.

 

3rd Annual Holidays Around the World

Visit the Segerstrom Center’s Julianne and George Argyros Plaza with family and friends to delight the 3rd Annual Holidays Around the World festivities. It’s a free event you won’t want to miss.

This year’s line up includes:

December 14
Performances

  • 11:00 AM– Costa Mesa High School Jazz Band
  • 11:45 AM– South Coast Chinese Cultural Association Lion Dance
  • 12:30 PM– Orange County School of the Arts Unplugged Holiday Carolers
  • 1:00 PM– Bollywood Deewane
  • 1:45 PM– Irvine Unified School District Elementary Vocal Music Ensemble
  • 2:30 PM – Orange County School of the Arts Classical Voice
  • 3:15 PM – South Coast Chinese Cultural Association Folk Dance
  • 4:00 PM – Reverb Tap Company

Free Activities: Seasonal crafts with Segerstrom Center for the Arts and South Coast Chinese Cultural Association, Holiday Express train rides from 12-3 PM
Vendors: Grateful Company, Vi Bella, LGH Ceramics, Vero's Tiendita

December 15
Performances

  • 11:15 AM – Upstream
  • 12:15 PM – OC Cello Choir
  • 1:00 PM – Die Gemütlichen Schuhplattler
  • 1:45 PM – Island Inspirations
  • 2:30 PM – L'il Dickens Carolers
  • 3:15 PM – South Coast Chinese Cultural Association Orchestra
  • 4:00 PM – El Centro Cultural de México Ballet Folklorico

Free Activities: Seasonal crafts with Segerstrom Center for the Arts and South Coast Chinese Cultural Association, Holiday Express train rides from 12-3 PM
Vendors: Grateful Company, Vi Bella, LGH Ceramics, Vero's Tiendita

For more information visit the Segerstrom event page.

Good Holiday Eats

Before or after these amazing Orange County events, you can savor a tasty lunch or dinner at the many amazing restaurants in Orange County.

Two of our favorites include:

Terrace by Mix Mix

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Located at the South Coast Plaza, Terrace by Mix Mix offers a delightful mix of small plates, including Albacore Tostada, Chorizo Potato Croquettes, Pork Adobo Fried Rice, Crispy Pork Belly. You’ll also have a curated selection of plates such as as we Duck Breast and House Made Agnolotti. We’ve enjoyed Chef Ross Pangilinan’s eclectic food style, which is influenced by French, Italian, and modern Filipino flavors.

Chef Ross was also recently featured as “Chef of the Year 2019,” by the Orange County Business Journal.

Sol Grill

Sol Grill is located on PCH in Newport Beach and owned by the lovely and welcoming M. The dishes at Sol Grill will soon become some of your favorites. They include Newport Linguini, Grandma Jill’s Meatloaf, and Sol Salmon. And here’s a dining tip for you…you’ll want to have a glass of the Sangria (Sol Grill is well-known for making the BEST Sangria in Newport Beach!)

Gift Ideas

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For gift ideas in Orange County, it’s great to think outside-the-box and shop for gifts of experiences.

 

 

Happy holidays!

 


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Giselle Baumet

Written by Giselle Baumet