The City of Council Bluffs is hosting Winterfest at Bayliss Park on Friday, November 19, from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Once again, the City of Council Bluffs is partnering with The Council Bluffs Public Library, The 712 Initiative, Union Pacific Museum, and Pottawattamie Arts, Culture & Entertainment (PACE) to deliver this Council Bluffs holiday tradition.
“Winterfest is our annual lighting ceremony in Bayliss Park,” said Council Bluffs Mayor Matt Walsh. “What started as a simple countdown in 2015 has grown into a well-attended festival that makes you feel like you’re on a holiday movie set.”
Officials canceled the Winterfest event in 2020 due to the pandemic, but the Bayliss Park signature holiday lights were on display all season.
“After a year away, I’m excited to be back at Winterfest,” said Santa Claus, Winterfest Guest of Honor. “My scroll is more than ready to record this year’s wishes.”
The main event at Winterfest is the Bayliss Park Lighting Ceremony. At 6:30 p.m., Santa Claus and Mayor Walsh lead the crowd in a song of Jingle Bells followed by a countdown, after which Bayliss Park is illuminated with more than 40,000 twinkle lights.
The 2021 Winterfest merriments include the traditional favorites plus a few new additions. New this year, the Council Bluffs Public Library is bringing real reindeer into Bayliss Park and offering reindeer-themed arts, crafts, and literacy festivities. Also new is a live ice sculpture demonstration presented by PACE. And for the first time, the Union Pacific Museum is lighting its building with a festive display and gifting light-up jewelry to kids.
The 712 Initiative is hosting the Makers Village again, offering the opportunity to shop unique handmade holiday gifts from local vendors in a pop-up market on Pearl Street. Food trucks will be present with concessions available for purchase.
Thanks to The Salvation Army, free hot chocolate will be available. Traditional festivities include live music from the Salvation Army brass ensemble, traveling Dickens carolers, an outdoor screening of a holiday classic, balloon art, face painting, crafts, and several jolly photo ops.
Winterfest at Bayliss Park takes place on Friday, November 19 at 5:30 p.m., with the lighting ceremony happening at 6:30 p.m.
“We hope you can join us for the moment Bayliss Park transforms into a wonderland, and stay awhile to shop, dine, and enjoy the celebrations,” said Mayor Walsh.
All Winterfest activities are free to the public. Items from the food trucks and Makers Village will be available for purchase. Find the Winterfest at Bayliss Park event on Facebook @CityofCB.