Royal Palm Beach’s annual winter festival returns this weekend, kicking off a busy holiday season packed with events in the western communities.
This year, the village has added several new features to Winter Fest — including a holiday movie night Friday at the Sporting Center at Commons Park. “The Polar Express” begins at 7 p.m. near the splash pad.
That is in addition to the usual line-up of activities and entertainment packed onto the Great Lawn at Commons Park from 1 to 9 p.m. Saturday.
Carlos Morales, Royal Palm community and cultural events superintendent, said Winter Fest is an event the village staff looks forward to every year. “We really get into the holiday spirit,” he said. To get attendees feeling festive, an outdoor skating rink, snow slide, and horse-and-carriage ride are among the free activities. Add to that a Kids’ Fun Zone, where for $10 children can enjoy rides, bounce houses and games.
The village’s Christmas tree lighting, with hot cocoa and cookies, will take place at 6:15 p.m. Saturday. Nearby, Santa and Mrs. Claus will be available for photos.
At the village’s new amphitheater, Morales said the entertainment lineup includes school choruses, dance groups and academies, and a headlining performance from the popular Brass Evolution Band performing as the Jody Marlow Holiday Jazz Band at 7:30 p.m.
Royal Palm Beach events like Winter Fest, Fall Fest and the Fourth of July are getting bigger each year, Morales said — in large part because of demand.
“We’re trying to put together these larger spectacles for the events,” he said. “We’re putting in the work … People are really responsive to the parks and events, and they enjoy themselves. They really do.”
Winter Fest costs the village about $50,000 to produce, he added, with about $30,000 of that in contracts with outside vendors. Much of it is off-set by the $10 Kids’ Fun Zone cost and sponsorships from Republic Services, Renaissance Charter Schools at Palms West, Cricket Wireless, and radio stations 103.1 and 107.9.
As the events continue to grow, Morales said he sees more and more people from outside Royal Palm Beach attending, with room to expand at Commons Park.
“We’re really trying to get the community together for these events,” he said. “This is a perfect way to go into the holidays.”