Winterfest

Arvest Winterfest is returning to downtown Tulsa on Saturday, Nov. 23. It will run through Sunday, Jan. 5.

IAN MAULE/Tulsa World file

Named by People magazine as the top holiday destination in Oklahoma, the Arvest Winterfest is returning to downtown Tulsa for a 12th year.

Presented by Arvest Bank with CommunityCare, Arvest Winterfest will kick off another season of holiday fun and will be open from Saturday, Nov. 23, through Sunday, Jan. 5. Over the last 12 years, attendance for the event has soared from 35,000 visitors in 2008 to more than 150,000.

“It’s incredible that we’re celebrating 12 years of Arvest Winterfest,” BOK Center General Manager Casey Sparks said in a news release. “We’re excited to offer new and fun things to all our guests as a thank you for making this annual event a success year after year.”

Arvest Winterfest boasts 9,000 square feet of real ice, besting the size of New York City’s Rockefeller Center ice rink.

The season opens at noon Saturday, Nov. 23, and the party continues that night with festive lights and sounds from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Share the Light opening ceremony presented by PSO. Local performers and a fireworks display by Imperial Fireworks will help ring in the season as the festival comes to life with the lighting of the Arvest Winterfest tree.

Skating Guides are available to help skaters glide in style. The lightweight helpers, courtesy of Chick-fil-A Tulsa Hills, can assist skaters of all ages to be more confident on the ice and off of the rails.

A new immersive light experience will be brought to visitors by PSO. Walk through color-changing LED lights as you approach what a news release said is Oklahoma’s tallest Christmas tree. The Arvest Winterfest tree stands 44 feet tall and features 36,700 glowing lights, 109,534 individual tips and a base diameter of nearly 30 feet. The lights provide a backdrop for holiday photographs under the Tulsa skyline.

Guests can take rides in horse-drawn carriages or warm up in a climate-controlled tent.

Enjoy free entertainment every Saturday until Christmas Eve directly in front of the giant Christmas tree. Have a seat and listen to the music performed by children from area churches, schools, nonprofit organizations and choral groups.

A food truck, The Bandwagon, will have food and drink offerings every Friday through Sunday. In addition to the ice rink, the Winterfest Express train fueled by Fox 23 is free and open to all ages from noon to 3 p.m. every Saturday. Get photos taken with Santa Claus every Sunday in December from 2 to 4 p.m., courtesy of Cox Communications.

Events include Student Night (Dec. 4), Learn to Curl interactive demo (Dec. 9), last-minute holiday shopping at Mother Road Market’s Kitchen 66 (Dec. 20-22), Kids Week (Dec. 23-29) and the Tulsa Winter Classic youth hockey tournament (Jan. 3-5).

Breakfast with Santa, presented by Contrast Energy, is scheduled Saturday, Dec. 14. Santa will be on-site for pictures and to hear last-minute gift requests. Admission is $15 per person and reservations are required. Visit tulsawinterfest.com to save a spot. Tickets go on sale 10 a.m. Monday, Nov. 11.

Courtesy of Arvest, patrons receive half-price skating admission on Mondays with the donation of a nonperishable can of food to the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma. ONE Gas is presenting Warmth Wednesdays every Wednesday throughout the festival. Visitors receive half-price skating or admission with the donation of a new or gently used coat, blanket, scarf or pair of gloves. Arvest customers will receive half-price general admission any day by showing their Arvest card or checkbook. Cox customers will receive half-price admission on Sundays when they show their Cox Contour app.

A calendar with prices and daily hours of operation is available at tulsawinterfest.com. For more information, contact specialevents@asmtulsa.com. For group ice skating rates or information on private rink rentals, contact Connie Lytle at 918-894-4264 or clytle@asmtulsa.com.


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Scene Writer

Jimmie is a pop culture and feature writer at the Tulsa World. A former Oklahoma sports writer of the year, he has written books about former Oklahoma football coach Barry Switzer and former Oklahoma State football coach Pat Jones. Phone: 918-581-8389