Featuring more than five million lights, nearly one dozen live entertainment options, and up to 16 rides and attractions, if there’s one holiday event that you attend in North or South Carolina this winter, it needs to be WinterFest at Carowinds.
2017 marks the third adaptation of Carowinds’ WinterFest. The park previously hosted the event in celebration of their 10th anniversary in 1983, and again in 2005. While I wasn’t alive in 1983 and didn’t get to experience the 2005 version, I can safely say that 2017’s WinterFest at Carowinds is already one of my favorite events that the park puts on. Here’s why:
Five. Million. Lights.
I definitely didn’t spend my time at WinterFest counting each individual bulb, but Carowinds’ use of more than five million lights is evident throughout the park. Wherever you turn, the park is brilliantly decorated.
Whether it’s the giant, colorful Christmas bulbs in Planet (soon to be Camp) Snoopy, the classic white lights on the trees near the park entrance and by Boo Blasters on Boo Hill, the dancing lights of Carolina Boardwalk synced to music, or the familiar red and white of the Coca-Cola company (complete with Santa Clauses) in the County Fair, each area has its own theme and identity.
There’s entertainment for all tastes at WinterFest, and it begins every night with the tree lighting ceremony at the main entrance as Carowinds’ 70 feet tall Christmas tree is lit after some song and dance.
If you like the Holiday Classics, be sure to catch the Holly Jolly Trolley as it makes seemingly random stops throughout Carowinds. If your tastes for Christmas music involve a banjo or beatbox, don’t miss Christmas Bluegrass on the Harmony Hall Patio or Jingle Jazz on the Gazebo in front of Boo Blasters on Boo Hill.
And if your Christmas isn’t complete without the Peanuts characters, don’t leave WinterFest without checking out Charlie Brown’s Christmas Spectacular in the Carowinds’ theater.
Hearty Holiday Fare
Carowinds’ culinary team, led by executive Chef Krzysztof Siuta, has come up with some incredible dishes for WinterFest, including several holiday themed funnel cakes, a “Roast Beast” sandwich, a “Turducken” burger, as well as more traditional holiday ham and turkey dinners in Harmony Hall.
My personal favorite was Chef Kris Kringle’s Fried Turkey Sandwich. It’s essentially a turkey burger, topped with Cheddar and Apple Stuffing, and then the whole thing is deep fried in cranberry tempura batter and served with a side of cranberry sauce. It’s amazing. I would eat this sandwich all year if Carowinds put it on a menu.
Rides and Attractions
If night rides are more of what you’re looking for out of your WinterFest experience, Carowinds has you covered. Carowinds will open up to 16 rides and attractions during each night of WinterFest, including the four new flat rides in County Fair – Do-Si-Do, Electro Spin, Rock N Roller, and Zephyr.
For coaster fans, Carowinds advertises Afterburn, Flying Ace Aerial Chase, and Ricochet among the 16 attractions that might be available at WinterFest, weather permitting. WinterFest at Carowinds is open on select nights through December 30, 2017 from 5-10pm each night. For more information, be sure to visit WinterFest’s website!