Those who attended Chapman University’s first Winterfest and Doy’s Holiday Tree Lighting last year found themselves in a winter wonderland right in the heart of Old Towne.
“The inaugural Chapman Winterfest and Doy’s Holiday Tree Lighting event was a perfect blend of tradition and current celebrations, and there were many magical moments,” says Ming Wright, who attended with her husband, Rod, and their daughter Samantha, who was five at the time.
“The surprise appearance of Santa Claus in a grand sleigh with President Jim Doti as Rudolph brought sparkles to my daughter’s eyes, and she was thrilled by the holiday fireworks display that peppered the sky over the Leatherby Libraries,” says Wright, director of HRIS and Compensation in the Human Resources Office at Chapman. “The night was topped off with snow. Samantha was ecstatic when a blizzard came out of nowhere. She danced and sang and even stuck her tongue out to taste the snow.”
Last year’s Winterfest was the “sleeper hit of the year,” says Guy Hinrichs, Chapman’s Director of Special Events. “People are still talking about the holiday pyrotechnic show, and everyone was truly surprised when St. Nick appeared,” says Hinrichs of the event to be repeated this year on December 5th.
“A grand Santa’s chair will be flown in from the North Pole specifically for the night, and there will be activities for children, including Santa Claus Express Train Rides around campus,” says Hinrichs. “We are also thrilled that Michael Nehring (accomplished actor, director and choreographer) will return as the guest narrator for the holiday reading of The Night Before Christmas.”
This year’s guests can also plan to sip hot cider and shop at the Holiday Market for unique specialty items made by local artisans, such as handmade jams and jellies, jewelry, purses, scarves, holiday ornaments and gourmet chocolates.
Also to be repeated this year will be the holiday fireworks spectacular, tree lighting, and if the weather conditions are right, California snow, says Hinrichs. “The evening will finish with a visit from St. Nicholas and photo opportunities.”
Chapman Trustee Doy Henley played the part of Santa at the first Winterfest and will do so again this year. “The event was great fun, and so was being Santa and seeing all of the children with their great big eyes filled with wonder,” he says.
The free event open to the public will be held on Chapman’s campus on Thursday, December 5th. The Holiday Market opens at 5 pm and the program starts at 6 pm.
Published in the Nov/Dec 2013 edition of the Old Towne Orange Plaza Review
Written by Julie-Bawden Davis, Photograph provided courtesy of Chapman University
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