I would like to begin this post with a small disclaimer – YES, I know this is going up before Thanksgiving has taken place, and for that, I am sorry – I too love Thanksgiving and sharing a delicious meal with family. Last year, I shared with you my best tips (so far) for hosting a stress-free (or at least minimally stress-inducing) holiday. My hope is that that post will help at least a few people have a more pleasant holiday each year. Speaking of pleasant holidays however – there are five really fantastic holiday events happening in and near Fresno, and the dates are rapidly approaching, so given that I am a planner and know others who are as well, I wanted to be sure you all had the heads up in advance (and hopefully in time to snag a good deal on the one event that has an admission cost).
Here are 5 fun family-friendly events to enjoy with your family this 2015 holiday season, in date order (Each is linked for your convenience, click through for additional information):
(NEW) Global Winter Wonderland (Tulare Fairgrounds) November 21st through January 23rd, beginning at 4:30pm
What to expect: This large-scale traveling event offers visitors a holiday carnival atmosphere complete with massive, sparkling, fully-lit displays of cultural landmarks from all around the world. Explore the pyramids, drink hot cocoa by Big Ben, and take selfies by a castle, it’s all beautifully lit and enchanting. You can also enjoy performances and foods from around the world as well as ride up to 30 carnival rides.
Who’d enjoy it most: Parents and relatives with young children who typically enjoy holiday light displays, or older children who enjoy rides. Families who like learning about different cultures. Anyone who likes holiday lights, but is frustrated with the traffic on Christmas Tree Lane and Cindy Lane.
Cost: This event is not super affordable without discounts, however, there are some really great discounts available right now! (Hence my urgency in getting this post up asap for you). Check out my price break breakdown:
- Admission is $16 for adults, $12 for children 3 and up. However, if you sign up to use Living Social, you can purchase a pair of admission tickets right now for $24, saving you $8 on two adult admissions. (Wait, it gets better.)
- Ride wristbands are $25 if you buy online and $30 at the gate (individual ride tickets are $1.50 and each ride is 3-5 tickets, whereas the wristband allows for unlimited rides). Right now, you can snag a pair of admission tickets and wristbands for $49 on Living Social here, and if you use the promo code 20thanks, you’ll get an additional 20% off. Still with me? Want to save even more?
- Sign up for an ebates account and you’ll also get 6% cashback on your total order. (If you don’t use ebates, but you buy things online, you should start using it asap. Basically, all you do is sign up for a free account, then when you’re going to purchase something, go to ebates.com first, then type in the store/website you want to buy from and it will say “opening new shopping trip” and take you to the site you asked for. Make a purchase as you normally would, and ebates will automatically deposit a rebate into your account. You’ll get a check or PayPal deposit back every three months. Using it just for the last month, I’ve earned over $150 in rebates! Sign up here.)
- By using Living Social, the promo code (expires on the 26th!) and ebates, you’ll get tickets and wristbands for $56 off full price.
- Coupons are also available at local Walgreens stores (I’m not sure the exact value of the coupons at this time, but it’s worth asking.)
Christmas Tree Lane Walk Nights (Fresno/Fig Garden Village) – Wednesday, December 2nd, Tuesday, December 8th from 6-10pm
What to expect: A fun night of walking down Christmas Tree Lane on Van Ness Boulevard, starting either from Figarden Village or Gazebo Gardens, enjoying light displays, Christmas music, people in festive attire and dogs in sweaters or wearing light up antlers, a chance to meet Santa and see police officers on horses, all without having to worry about vehicle traffic, as the street is closed to cars on these two evenings.
Who’d enjoy it most: Children and adults who enjoy looking at the light displays, those that value tradition and doing the Christmas Tree Lane walk each year, people who enjoy activities in which it’s totally fine to bring your dogs to, people who aren’t bothered by crowds, people who are able to walk a few miles on flat ground.
Cost: None. (Unless you want to eat/get a hot drink prior to your walk at Gazebo Gardens or in Fig Garden Village) Donations are collected near when Santa greets the children, so please consider bringing a few dollars in cash to support Christmas Tree Lane. The donations support all of the work and lights that go into decorating the lane for visitors to enjoy each year.
Electrical Farm Equipment Parade (Downtown Reedley) – Thursday, December 3rd at 7:30pm
What to expect: A cavalcade of heavy farm equipment, decorated to the nines with lights and holiday trimmings, motoring down the streets of Downtown Reedley. There will also be shopping, food and entertainment leading up to the parade, beginning at 5:30pm.
Who’d enjoy it most: Children who love big trucks, vehicles, tractors, etc., those who love traditions that feel a bit more small town, like a taste of true Americana, just about anyone probably.
Cost: None, unless you wish to shop/purchase food.
The 86th Annual Downtown Fresno Christmas Parade (Downtown Fresno) – Saturday, December 5th at 10:45am
What to expect: A great, traditional Christmas parade, circling Downtown Fresno landmarks and featuring floats, music and entertainment reflecting this year’s theme: Christmas Around the World.
Who’d enjoy it most: Children and adults alike – anyone who enjoys a really fun, festive parade, marching bands, experiencing the best of Downtown Fresno with a community of excited Christmas enthusiasts.
The Clovis Children’s Electrical Christmas Parade (Old Town Clovis) – Saturday, December 5th at 6:30pm
What to expect: Decorated floats, marching bands, riders on horseback, carolers, glittery lit displays and decorated cars. This is a much-loved annual tradition.
Who’d enjoy it most: Parade fans, young children, those who live in Clovis or enjoy visiting Old Town Clovis.
Cost: None. (Supported by the Old Town Kiwanis)