Astorino Kicks Off 3rd Annual Westchester’s Winter Wonderland With Tree Lighting Celebration

On Friday, November 25, Westchester County Executive Robert P. Astorino joined with Westchester Parks Foundation and the Westchester County Parks Department at Kensico Dam Plaza in Valhalla to celebrate the opening of Westchester’s Winter Wonderland with the lighting of a 32-foot Christmas tree in front of a new feature for the event – a “big top” tent that is Hanneford’s Holiday Circus, the only tented holiday circus in the tristate area.

Photo From left: Kevin Bovet, Vice President of Sales and Business Operations, Westchester Knicks; Kathy O’Connor, Commissioner, Westchester County Parks and Recreation; Westchester County Executive Robert P. Astorino; Tania Thorbourne and her daughter, London, who was born at 34 weeks in the NICU unit at the Children’s Hospital and her life was saved thanks to the doctors, specialists and nurses at the hospital; Santa Claus, and Joanne Fernandez, Chairperson for Westchester Parks Foundation.

“This spectacular event transforms Kensico Dam Plaza into a sparkling holiday destination, and it is only possible through the efforts and generosity of many cooperating agencies, including the Westchester Parks Foundation and our County Parks Department for months of planning and coordination,” Astorino said. “I thank our many partners for their financial and in-kind support.”

To pay tribute to the event’s presenting sponsor, Westchester Medical Center, Astorino invited London Thorbourne, a former patient at Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital – a member of the Westchester Medical Center network – and her mother Tania, as well as other family members, to help light the tree. London was born at 34 weeks in the NICU unit at the Children’s Hospital. Her life was saved thanks to the doctors, specialists and nurses at the hospital.

The 2016 Westchester’s Winter Wonderland event will feature an exciting lineup of entertainment, including circus performers. Plus, this year it will take place under a larger tent – Hanneford’s Holiday Circus. The 800-person, double-poled, red and white striped circus tent will be the only tented holiday circus in the tristate area and will provide longer shows, as well as pony and camel rides on the weekends.

As featured last year, guests will again enjoy the New York Rangers-sponsored 70-foot by 90-foot ice rink “RangersTown,” which is the same size as the rink at Rockefeller Center in New York City.

Other features at Westchester’s Winter Wonderland include:

·         The Santa Experience, with additional costumed character appearances

·         Rides: The Wonderland Express, Winter Hay Ride and the Holly Jolly Caterpillar

·         The Westchester Knicks Holiday Dining Tent and Hospitality Tent

·         Individually-tented shopping vendors in newly named sections on the plaza: “Main Street,” “Light Show Lane” and “Hay Ride Way”

·         A larger, 32-foot tall Christmas tree, with a tree lighting ceremony on opening night

·         Candy Cane Forest lights at the entrance to the event

General admission for Westchester’s Winter Wonderland is $15 per person; ages 5 and under are free (ticket price allows for unlimited access to amusement rides, ice skating and rentals, as well as visits with Santa Claus. Westchester Parks Foundation is the organization that envisioned and helped to develop Westchester’s Winter Wonderland with the County Parks Department, while also advocating and investing in Westchester County’s 18,000 acres of parks and open space.

“There is so much in store this holiday season at Westchester’s Winter Wonderland,” said Joanne Fernandez, Board Chair, Westchester Parks Foundation. “We invite families near and far to join us at one of our most treasured parks for an evening full of memories that will last a lifetime.”

The event is presented by Westchester Medical Center, sponsored by Westchester Parks Foundation and produced by Westchester County Department of Parks, Recreation and Conservation. Event sponsors include: the New York Rangers, Con Edison, Party Line Rentals and the Westchester Knicks.

Westchester’s Winter Wonderland will run through Monday, Jan 2. Now through Dec. 18, the event will be open Fridays and Saturdays from 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. and Thursdays and Sundays from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Beginning, Monday, Dec. 19, the program will be open weekdays and Sundays from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. and Fridays and Saturdays from 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit

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