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Walnut High School | 400 Pierre Rd. Walnut, Calif. 91789

the hoofprint

Walnut High School | 400 Pierre Rd. Walnut, Calif. 91789

the hoofprint

Walnut High School | 400 Pierre Rd. Walnut, Calif. 91789

Winter Fest OC’s high price paying experience

An annual fair in Orange County features an enjoyable experience at the rides at the cost of your wallet.
Photo by Jocelyn Chen
The fairgrounds at Winter Fest OC with their December decorations.

Slippery snow slides, brilliant lights and Christmas cheer galore; that was the picture-perfect wonderland that I envisioned stepping onto the grounds of Winter Fest OC, an annual holiday-themed event hosted at the Orange County Fair. That being said, my illusion was quickly interrupted when I actually experienced the festival for myself, realizing that it was more of a money vacuum than a winter paradise. 

Winter Fest offers a variety of attractions, including amusement rides, food and drinks, carnival games, performances and activities such as ice skating and snow tubing. The event is open on select dates from November 24 to January 7, and tickets can be bought through their website. 

I bought the general admission ticket, which was $37.99 during the presale. It came with unlimited snow tubing, snowman building and snow sledding access, which didn’t count for much when I was hit with the fact that I still had to pay an additional $40 for unlimited access to other attractions. The food and drinks we ordered were also around $118 in total, not including tax, which was reasonable in my opinion, but when I found out that I also had to pay for ice skating (which I didn’t), my heart shattered a little. Basically, the admission ticket felt like a total scam. 

What I saw when I walked in disappointed me. Not only was there a lot of empty space, the festival was also a lot smaller than depicted in the heavily edited photos displayed on their website. Everything looked much more appealing at night when all the Christmas lights started to take on their effect, so I’d recommend arriving there after sunset.

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Despite the fact that the scene was definitely overpriced and a bit underwhelming, some of the experience was still pretty enjoyable. My favorite ride that I went on was the Typhoon, in which we were seated in a compartment illuminated by colorful neon lights. Immediately, we began to lift off the ground and swing high into the sky, where we were catapulted from left to right in a swaying motion. My heart dropped to the pit of my stomach every time we fell from the highest point, and every so often I’d catch a glimpse of a twinkling view of the grounds in between my screaming laughter. 

After going on some other rides, my friend and I decided to fill our bellies by heading to the food booths. Our first stop was the Backyard BBQ Village, where we ordered $16 chicken kebabs, a $21 turkey leg and $18 carne asada fries. It’s safe to say that whoever’s backyard this barbecue took place at was definitely located in some kind of desert. The food was incredibly dry and bland, the asada fries being the most tolerable and the turkey leg being the worst. To quench our thirst, we headed to Sunday Cafe to buy a sweet and refreshing $25 coconut-pineapple drink that came in a cute jumbo baby bottle with free refills. We were so impressed that we even went back for dimsum later. We ordered shumai, a traditional Chinese dumpling, and we drizzled it with chili oil. Each bite was a hot, satisfying burst of flavor, with the orange chili oil adding a perfect kick to the $12 dish. 

We ended our adventure with snow tubing, where we slid down an icy slide of snow in big, inflatable rings. The pure glee that I felt gliding down that slope was probably the highlight of my experience. It gave me that enchanting, childlike feeling that should be there every Christmas.

Overall, I still wouldn’t recommend paying such a high price for the experience. It had its pleasant elements, but for such an expensive cost, I expected more out of the festival. If you still want to take in the full winter fantasy, I recommend going with someone you’ll have a lot of fun with, specifically to distract you from how empty your wallet will be by the end of the night. 

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About the Contributor
Jocelyn Chen, Staff writer
Hi I'm Jocelyn Chen, I'm in the 10th grade, and I'm a staff writer for The Hoofprint. I enjoy writing and graphic design, as well as taking cool photos to fill up my camera roll. In my free time, I like going to the beach, reading, and listening to Drake.
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