Community readies for the holidays with Santa tours, snow days and fireworks

If you’re looking for a fun, festive event to help usher in the holiday season, you’ve come to the right place. This month there is no shortage of Santa sightings, tree lightings, sing-a-longs, snow days and fireworks to help celebrate the most wonderful time of the year. Here is our list of some of the best holiday and Christmas events the whole family can enjoy in the HomeTown News area:

  • Snow Wonder and the Marina del Rey Boat Parade.

Marina del Rey has the holiday spirit and is sharing it with the community with a variety of free events. On Saturday, December 12 from 1 to 5 p.m., the county will hold its inaugural Snow Wonder event. Kids of all ages can enjoy a synthetic ice rink, real snow, snacks, arts & crafts, sledding, face painting and more at Burton Chase Park, located at 13650 Mindanao Way in Marina del Rey.

For more information, please contact (310) 305-9595 or visit marinadelrey.lacounty.gov.

After Snow Wonder, stay in the park to watch the 53rd Annual Marina del Rey Boat Parade with the theme, “Adventures on the Sea,” starting at 5:55 p.m. with a five-minute firework show. The boat parade runs from 6 to 8 p.m. and this year’s Grand Marshal is actress Florence Henderson.

For more information on the Boat Parade, please visit mdrboatparade.org.

  • Holiday Sing-a-Long in the Garden.

Brings the kids to the Emerson Avenue Community Garden on Saturday, December 12 at noon for a holiday sing-a-long led by Musical Beginnings. This event is free and guests can collectively sing their hearts out while enjoying cookies and community.

Emerson Avenue Community Garden is located on the Wright STEAM Campus on Emerson Ave. between 80th Pl. and 80th St.

  • Santa Tours.

The Playa Venice Sunrise Rotary Club will hosts its 11th annual Santa Tour on Tuesday, December 15 from 5 to 8 p.m. Once again, the club will be teaming up with the LAFD and the LAPD sleigh to help spread holiday cheer to the community.

Stops will be marked with “Santa Stop” signs posted at each location. In case of rain, Santa will be at Fire Station #5, located at 8900 Emerson Ave. in Westchester, between 5 and 7 p.m. to pass out candy canes and collect Christmas lists.

Santa’s route and approximate times include:

  • 5:15 p.m. at 79th Street and Berger (Playa del Rey)
  • 5:45 p.m. at 6600 block of W. 87th Place (Emerson Manor Area)
  • 6:15 p.m. at 8000 block of El Manor Ave. (Kentwood)
  • 6:45 p.m. at 8800 block of DeHaviland Ave. (Nielson Field area)
  • 7:15 p.m. at 7500 block of Midfield Ave. (East Westchester)

For more info on the Playa Venice Sunrise Rotary Santa Tour, please call (310) 306-8525.

  • Inaugural Snow Day at Playa Provisions.

Snow in Playa del Rey may be unheard of, but thanks to the culinary geniuses at Playa Provisions, community members will have a chance to enjoy an afternoon of sledding and snowball fights in a winter wonderland setting.

A special menu of pretzels and poutine and frankfurters, along with dessert “snowballs” and snow cones will be available for purchase.

Playa Provisions’ Snow Day will take place on Saturday, December 19 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Adults are $5 and kids are free.

Playa Provisions is located at 119 Culver Blvd. in Playa del Rey. For more info, visit playaprovisions.com.


New Year’s Eve Fireworks Celebration. The Marina will host an inaugural New Year’s Eve Celebration on Thursday, December 31 starting at 7 p.m. in Burton Chace Park, located at 13650 Mindanao Way in Marina del Rey. Guests are invited to head to the park to watch a live outdoor broadcast of CNN’s New Year’s Eve Live in Times Square. At 8:59 p.m., those in the park can join in a 60-second countdown to the Times Square ball drop. The event will culminate with a ten minute fireworks show at 9 p.m., which will be shot from the Marina’s south jetty.

Past events:

  • Santa Tour. The Annual LAPD Santa Tour will roll into Westchester and Playa del Rey on Monday, December 7.

This year’s schedules times and stops include:

  • 4:30 p.m. at 5962 W. 75th Street
  • 5 p.m. at 8880 Earhart Ave.
  • 5:45 p.m. at Croydon between 83rd Street and 85th Street (mid-block)
  • 6:45 p.m. at 8327 Reading Ave.
  • 7:45 p.m. at 63rd Ave. and S. Fairfax Ave (northwest corner)

Stops can vary by 15 to 30 minutes, so listen for sirens, music and flashing lights. The sled will not be out in case of rain.

  • LMU Tree Lighting. Bring the family down to LMU for the university’s annual Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony on Friday, December 4 from 6 to 8 p.m. The festivities take place on the campus’ Regents Terrace and guests can enjoy hot cocoa, cider, decorating cookies, holiday music, snow and arts and crafts. Since this is an event popular with both students and the Westchester/Playa community, it’s recommended that you show up early if you want to get your hands on the coveted holiday mugs that the Community Relations Department hands out and to not miss out on the cookies and cider.

LMU is located at 1 LMU Drive in Westchester. For more info, please visit aslmu.org.

  • Westchester Lutheran Church Tree Lighting. The Westchester Lutheran Church and School is inviting the community to its annual Tree Lighting and Carol Sing on Friday, December 4 at 7 p.m. The event will kick-off WLCS’s Christmas Festival, which will also include a presentation of Handel’s Messiah at 4 p.m. on Sunday, December 6. Tickets for the concert can be purchased at wlcs.org for $15 and are also available at the door for $20. WLCS is located at 7831 S. Sepulveda Blvd. in Westchester.

  • Holiday Artisan Fair at Playa Vista Farmers’ Market. The Playa Vista Farmers’ Market with get a special visit from Santa on Saturday, December 5 at its Holiday Artisan Fair. More than 50 local vendors will be selling their wares at the event, providing for some great holiday gift shopping from local, small businesses.

Santa will be available from 10 a.m. to noon for pictures and guests can also enjoy face painting, free raffles, live holiday Irish music and more!

Admission is free and there is plenty of free parking surrounding the market, located at 6400 Seabluff Drive in Playa Vista. The event runs 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

For more info, visit farmermark.com.

Have a holiday event you want to share? Email us at westchesterhometown@yahoo.com to be added to our holiday event list!

Photo: Carolers sing at last year’s LMU Tree Lighting event. PHOTO COURTESY LMU.