Seasonal celebration prepares to open on November 20.
By Galen Patterson
Arcadia City Council approved a temporary permit for the operation of Winterfest in Arcadia. The festival is approved for the days of Nov. 23, 2018 through Jan. 6, 2019, and will take place in Santa Anita Park.
Santa Anita Park has teamed up with professional event service Odd Market to bring a celebration of winter to the city, in the first year of what may prove to be a local tradition.
Odd Market has been organizing family-themed events since 1991. Recent events include Odd Nights at the Autry, which hosts vendors from food trucks to mobile antiques at the Autry Museum of the American West.
Winterfest is approved to operate an ice skating rink, Christmas tree lot, over 60 pop-up shops and food vendors, a petting zoo, carolers, horse-drawn carriage rides, Santa’s Village, seasonal food, live music and of course, Santa himself.
Admission is $5, and children under 3 may enter free of charge.
According to the city staff report, the event is expected to draw 10,000 visitors each week. The festival is likely to draw attention and patrons from around Southern California as well, and the nearly 6,000 parking spaces at the racetrack will provide adequate parking for patrons.
Councilmember Peter Amundson asked the city for an attendance comparison between Winterfest expectation and the 626 Night Market, to which the staff remarked was nearly double, drawing in 19,000-32,000 visitors per weekend.
Other major winter-themed festivals in Southern California include Winter Fest at the OC Fair and Event Center, which charges more than double the entrance fee and opens nearly a month later.
The staff report also anticipates no permanent effects on the environment, nor any significant fiscal impact on the city, aside from sales tax and business licensing for the vendors.
Another matter of city business was the approval of an agreement between the city and Gibson Transportation Consulting, Inc. for a Downtown Arcadia Parking Evaluation Plan in the amount of $48,765. The company will be looking at public parking areas and possible parking structure locations.
Mayor Pro Temp Verlato recused herself from the vote, citing a reason of owning property within the area. Verlato then delivered a public comment on the matter, asking the council to keep Gibson Inc. focused on expanding public parking to help grow the Downtown Arcadia area and help local businesses in the area with parking.
The City Council will convene again on Nov. 20, 2018.