The Examiner

Westchester’s Winter Wonderland Opens Friday in Valhalla

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Santa will visit with children during the sixth annual Westchester’s Winter Wonderland, which opens at Kensico Dam Plaza in Valhalla on Friday and runs through Jan. 4.

Westchester’s Winter Wonderland returns to Kensico Dam Plaza in Valhalla on Friday at 5 p.m. for its sixth season.

The festive celebration takes place for six consecutive weekends through Saturday, Jan. 4, 2020, plus weekday bonus days during the school holiday. For one $20 all-inclusive ticket price, guests can enjoy unlimited access to Santa’s Village, amusement rides, a live circus performance, ice skating rink plus free skate rental, a dazzling holiday light show featuring favorite elves Ned and Albert and one of Westchester’s tallest lighted Christmas trees.

For the sixth straight year, Westchester Medical Center is the host of the circus and presenting partner of the annual event. The official tree lighting ceremony will start at 6 p.m. led by County Executive George Latimer and Westchester Parks Foundation Executive Director Joe Stout and sponsored by Robison Oil. New platinum sponsors for 2019 include Wegman’s and Verizon. They will be joined by returning platinum sponsors Con Edison and Party Line Rentals and M&T Bank, sponsor of the family-friendly New Year’s Eve Ball Drop on Dec. 31.

New this year is the addition of Santa’s Village at the North Pole with live reindeer. Parents can take their own photos or jump in to take a family selfie. Visitors can also visit live reindeer, mail letters to Santa and see the real-life frozen “North Pole,” a total Santa experience.

The heated double-poled, yellow and red-striped Winter Wonderland Holiday Circus tent presents up to five performances nightly, with thrilling circus acts that will entertain and delight children of all ages. New acts this year include motorcycle thrill drivers in the Giant Thunder Dome reaching speeds of 55 miles per hour; Miss Perla, the Human Pretzel contortionist; the skills of Senor Soto on the glittering trapeze; and circus legend Greg DeSanto, one-time director of clowning for the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. DeSanto is originally from Eastchester and was just elected president of the International Clown Hall of Fame.

“There are so many ways to enjoy Westchester’s Winter Wonderland, from the circus, to the brilliant light displays, themed character nights and amusement rides for the young and young at heart, unlimited skating and free rental skates all covered in the admission price,” said county Parks Commissioner Kathy O’Connor. “We look forward to a great season and especially to the opening night, a truly magical experience.”

New rides will be added to FUNderland Village, including a 55-foot Ferris wheel. Children will have unlimited access to eight rides – the Winter Hay Ride, Wonderland Train Ride, Holiday Carousel, the 40-foot heated Fun Slide, Holly Jolly Dragons, Pony Sleighs and Tubs of Fun.

Lights of Wonder, sponsored by Verizon, will feature favorite elves Ned and Albert and holiday music. Magical displays include angels, snowflakes, elves tossing wrapped holiday gifts and a message of good will. Guests can also skate away on Westchester Winter Wonderland’s huge ice rink, the same size as the rink at Rockefeller Center.

Pose for photos in front of Westchester’s largest lighted Christmas Tree or take a break from the cold to enjoy food and refreshments in the heated Wegman’s Holiday Dining Tent. Beer and wine are available for adults 21 and up, including a special Captain Lawrence Brew called Red Nose Ale, available only at Westchester’s Winter Wonderland.

Westchester’s Winter Wonderland will be open on Fridays from 5 to 10 p.m. and Saturdays 4 to 10 p.m. On Sundays through Dec. 22 it will be open from 4 to 9 p.m. and on Dec. 29 from 4 to 10 p.m. Beginning Monday, Dec. 23, it will be open weekdays from 5 to 10 p.m., except Dec. 24 and Dec. 25, when it will be closed.

For complete information and to purchase tickets, visit

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