Starting Nov. 23, the Blue Wahoos’ home stadium will be transformed into a fun, family-friendly holiday theme park. The aptly titled Winter Wonderland will feature an ice skating rink, toboggan run, a 60-foot tall Christmas tree, hayrides around the Maritime Park and of course holiday music, vendors and food.
“We wanted to give the community a place where families can come and enjoy one another,” said Shelley Yates, special event manager for the Blue Wahoos.
The Winter Wonderland will kick-off Nov. 23. The event is free and will be hosted by WEAR-3’s Sue Straughn. Watch the grand illumination of the Christmas tree by Mayor Ashton Hayward, on loan from Sacred Heart Hospital. After the tree is lit, enjoy a special musical performance, games and an opportunity for a chance to win a new car from Kia Autosport. Local artist Eric Schmitz, local cartoonists and volunteers have lent their artistic skills to windows outside of the Bayfront Stadium. Holiday and baseball scenes will greet you as you enter the Winter Wonderland.
Closing the event will be a holiday-themed fireworks show.
“We are hoping to provide the community with a stadium full of activities to enjoy this holiday season,” said Yates. “Pensacola has a tradition of coming together during this time of year celebrating all types of festivals and events, and we hope that the Blue Wahoos Winter Wonderland will become part of that tradition.”
Tickets are all-inclusive. You can skate and get on the toboggan ride as much as you’d like. Families of five can purchase a discounted package of tickets, which can be transferred to out-of-town families that visit during the holiday season. Tickets for children under five are free.
The fun doesn’t stop at opening night. Marcus Pointe Baptist Church will be hosting a Christmas Craft Corner every Saturday and Sunday afternoons for children as well as a Christmas Eve service, which will be open to the public. Part of the stadium outfield will be utilized for games such as bowling, Twister, and oversized checkers. The stadium concourse will host Christmas vendors and a Santa Claus picture area.
And it wouldn’t be the holidays without giving back. Local businesses will be participating in the Christmas Tree Donation program, which will benefit Gulf Coast Kid’s House, a children’s advocacy center serving victims of child abuse in Escambia County. Each participating business will donate a decorated tree to be displayed and then delivered to families in need with the help of The United Way.
“The Blue Wahoos and our owners, Quint and Rishy Studer, believe that we’re not just a baseball team, but rather a corporate citizen—a part of this community—that also happens to be a minor league baseball team,” said Yates.
“The Pensacola area has been so supportive of us, and this is just one more way that we can show the citizens that we appreciate them, while helping children who could use a good Holiday experience.”
Yates sees this year as the first of many for Winter Wonderland.
“If everybody likes it, it will continue,” she said. “It’s all about having fun. So if people are having fun, we’ll keep rolling it in.”
BLUE WAHOOS WINTER WONDERLAND
WHEN: Thursday – Sunday, Nov. 23 – Dec. 29
WHERE: 301 W. Main St.
COST: $11 for single day tickets or season passes for family of five for $180; children under 5 are free
DETAILS: bluewahoos.com or firstname.lastname@example.org