Winter Wonderland in Sunny Isles Beach

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The City of Sunny Isles Beach kicks off the holiday season with the annual Winter Fest celebration

On Saturday, Dec. 2, the City of Sunny Isles Beach kicked off the holiday season with the annual Winter Fest celebration at Heritage Park. Drawing out a crowd of more than 1,000, the park was teeming with excited children and parents ready to celebrate the holidays.

One attraction that never fails to disappoint: the arrival of Santa on his enchanted ‘sleigh.’ Though he may have ‘flown’ in on an Ocean Rescue truck, kids cheered and clapped during his entrance, and the line to take pictures with the holiday hero wound around the side of the park for hours.

Children, and their parents alike, also watched in fascination at the presence of real reindeer. Flying all the way from the North Pole, or more accurately, upstate New York, attendees were delighted to see the foreign creatures at one of the only appearances they will make in the state of Florida this holiday season.

From 5-9 p.m., crowds of residents and visitors bounced from attraction to attraction enjoying ice skating, carnival rides, pictures with Santa and his reindeer, an assortment of vendor booths, and a park lighting ceremony by the Mayor and City Commission.

“This year’s Winter Fest went off without a hitch and was extremely well orchestrated thanks to our City staff and volunteers,” says Sunny Isles Beach Mayor George “Bud” Scholl. “It is always encouraging to see such a great turnout at one of our favorite holiday events.”

One attraction hard to miss: the 26-foot holiday tree shining in the center of Heritage Park. After two days of construction by four park employees, the tree brought a beautiful glow to the park. The tree has since been moved to Gateway Park to spread the spirit of the holidays across Sunny Isles Beach. Residents are now able to enjoy decorations at various locations around the City including lit palm trees and snowmen at Heritage Park, lit palm trees and a 16-foot sand castle at Samson Oceanfront Park, and the holiday tree at Gateway Park.

“The holidays are always a magical time,” says Sunny Isles Beach City Manager, Chris Russo. “Since we do not experience the change of seasons here in South Florida, we wanted to share the holiday spirit with our residents as much as possible through exciting events and beautiful ornaments.”

View all of the joyful moments from Winter Fest at and save the date for the 2018 Winter Fest celebration on Saturday, Dec. 1, 2018.

Don’t miss the City’s final December events: Teen Winter Glow Party on Friday, Dec. 22 from 7-10 p.m. and the Pre-New Year’s Eve in SIB party on Friday, Dec. 29 from 9 p.m. – 1 a.m. Both events will take place at Gateway Park. For more information about City events, visit or call 305.792.1706.

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