Opening Day Kicks Off with Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony and Special Celebration;
New York Rangers Alum Adam Graves Participates in Children’s “Try Hockey for Free” Session.
On Friday, November 27, Westchester County Executive Robert P. Astorino joined with New York Rangers Alum Adam Graves, Friends of Westchester County Parks and the Westchester County Parks Department at Kensico Dam Plaza in Valhalla to celebrate opening day of Westchester’s Winter Wonderland with a 24-foot Christmas tree lighting ceremony and special holiday celebration.
“I am proud to say that Westchester’s Winter Wonderland is here to stay,” said Astorino. “Thanks to all the wonderful partners, sponsors and, of course, the county’s outstanding parks staff, Kensico Dam Plaza has once again been transformed into a magical place for wintertime fun. I encourage everyone to check out all the new attractions at Westchester’s newest signature event. It’s a perfect way to get family and friends outdoors and into the holiday spirit.”
To pay tribute to the event’s presenting sponsor, Westchester Medical Center, Astorino invited Victoria Ricotta, a former patient at Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital – a sector of the hospital’s health network – and her family to light the tree with him. Victoria’s life was saved thanks to the doctors, specialists and nurses at the hospital after she was diagnosed with a rare bacterial infection as a result of being born without a spleen.
Thanks to a new partnership with the New York Rangers, the event will feature a Rockefeller Center-sized ice rink called “RangersTown” as a nod to the RangersTown Hockey House in front of Madison Square Garden. Rangers Alum Adam Graves attended the celebration to participate in a special children’s “Try Hockey for Free” session sponsored by the team. To add to the fan experience, the Rangers will also provide special perks each Friday, Saturday and Sunday night for guests to enjoy. This will include special hockey sessions with Rangers alumni and photo opportunities with the Rangers’ player bench, field marketing vehicle and mobile brand experience. The team will also offer attendees an opportunity to enter to win a drawing for exclusive Rangers prizes and giveaways.
A new lineup of fun, family-friendly entertainment, including visits with Santa Claus, circus performers, carolers and storytellers are scheduled to take place in a new, heated tent on specific days throughout the event.
- Jack Frost Holiday Cirque Spectacular, which will feature incredible performers from all across the world, including the juggling dexterity of the Aristov Family, World Record Hula Hoop Champion Tatiana and incredible acrobatics. Jack Frost Holiday Cirque Spectacular will perform every night at 5:30 p.m., 6:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
- Strolling carolers will greet and serenade guests with holiday tunes.
- The Westchester Chordsman will perform on designated evenings.
- The Hope Players, a local community theater troop that works in partnership with Hartsdale-based The Hope for Change Foundation for breast cancer awareness, will perform on Sundays.
- Storytelling by Santa’s Elves will be available on Friday nights. Children will be able to sit and listen with wonder as elves spin tales about favorite holiday legends.
- Other new features include: a candy cane forest of lights at the entrance of the event; the addition of a third amusement ride for children; a shopping village of artisan crafts and gifts; and gourmet delicacies from an array of food trucks.
New general admission pricing is $15 per person. This ticket price allows unlimited access to amusement rides, ice skating and rentals, and visits with Santa Claus. Children ages 5 and under are free. Friends of Westchester County Parks 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.
“From the beginning, Westchester’s Winter Wonderland was designed to bring people to enjoy our beautiful Kensico Dam Park and celebrate the spirit of the season,” said Joanne Fernandez, Board Chairperson for Friends of Westchester County Parks. “We invite everyone to join and create a memorable holiday experience close to home.”
The event is presented by Westchester Medical Center, sponsored by Friends of Westchester County Parks and produced by Westchester County Department of Parks, Recreation and Conservation. Event sponsors include: the New York Rangers, Yonkers Kia, Con Edison, Party Line Rentals and Robison Oil.
Westchester’s Winter Wonderland will run through Sunday, Jan. 3. Now through Dec. 20, the event will be open Fridays and Saturdays from 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. and Sundays from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Beginning, Monday, Dec. 21, 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 www.wwinterwonderland.com.