Top 10 Events In Review: October - December 2016

Ventureboyz | February 2, 2017

Our data team gave us a look at the most prominent events in the fourth quarter of 2016. These are the events that our users got most excited for, were the most attended, and generally the most talked about last year. We’ve got the winners list all ready to go so keep reading to find out which events came out on top!
10. Balboa Park December Nights 2016 San Diego, California | 12/2/16
This popular holiday festival has been taking place in Balboa Park, San Diego, for thirty-nine years now. Known as the largest free community festival in San Diego, December Nights typically attracts more than 350,000 visitors to the park over a two-day period for fun, food and local attractions during the holiday season. The event typically offers seasonal family-style entertainment and festive holiday lighting throughout the park’s well known Plaza de Panama canopy, Botanical Building and landmark Moreton Bay Fig Tree. In addition, the event features a host of delicious cuisines, shopping opportunities, dance productions and a host of other time-honored traditions and exhibitions.
9. Hugs for Brady Holiday Light Show New Brunswick, New Jersey | 11/25/16
As one of the newest light show attractions in the state, this event is centrally located in New Brunswick, New Jersey and is extremely well-attended during its five week run time. The event is held in a 180,000 square foot arena featuring customized light structures and including a 3-story walk-through ornament, a 2-story giant present and an animated snowman. It also features an animated musical light show, food trucks, face-painting and plenty of opportunities for holiday photographs, among other things. The Hugs for Brady Foundation was founded by Sherrie and Michael Wells after their son, Brady Michael, was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia and passed away at the age of 23 months. The money donated to the foundation goes directly towards funding cancer research and helping families defray the costs of cancer treatment for their children.
8. Phoenix Pizza Festival 2 Phoenix, Arizona | 11/19/16
This festival is the proclaimed as the first of its kind in Arizona – a festival strictly dedicated to the best food ever created by man, pizza!! Local pizza makers and businesses gather together for one day of incredibly awesome pizza, featuring live bands, craft beer and wine, lawn games, desserts, and outdoor craft areas for kids. Of course, pizza is a staple on the menu. The event also donates a portion of its proceeds to benefit the Downtown Phoenix Inc., which is an organization dedicated to the creation of a successful and thriving downtown area in the local neighborhood.
7. Harry Potter Magical Holiday Ball at Barnes & Noble at The Grove Los Angeles, California | 12/9/16
This Holiday Ball is a free event and open to children and adults of all ages. Of course, at the heart of the event is…well, you guessed it, Harry Potter themed costumes and attire! However, a Harry Potter costume is not required. Many event-goers dress in their holiday favorites or just come as they are to enjoy the dancing, crafts, Harry Potter themed activities, costume showcase and other giveaways. Unfortunately, the venue has capacity restrictions and so it must limit the number of attendees to the event. Therefore, it’s important to get in on this one early and make a reservation to this extremely popular Holiday-themed Ball!
6. San Francisco Coffee Festival San Francisco, California | 11/12/16
The first annual San Francisco Coffee Festival kicked off in none other than San Francisco on November 12, 2016. The festival featured twenty different curated roasters and coffee shops offering event-goers the opportunity to share in unique beans and flavor profiles, all while being serenated by live entertainment. It was a raging success and attracted coffee-enthusiasts from all over. As a result of its brewing popularity and the overall importance of coffee in general, the second annual festival is already scheduled to take place on Saturday, November 4, 2017.
5. Global Winter Wonderland Weekend Sacramento, California | 12/2/16
California sure was a popular place for exciting activities last year. The Global Winter Wonderland weekend festival in Sacramento was no exception. This tremendously well-attended event is now in its third season at Cal Expo and spans 17 acres worth of activities for kids of all ages. Among some its more prominent features are a larger-than-life Santa’s Village, a giant Toy Land, illuminated lanterns of all shapes and sizes in the form of the four seasons, a circus of lights with live stunts and awe-inspiring acts, a special glow-in-the-dark experience, delicious food inspired by places throughout the world and various carnival rides. The event also showcases vendors from around the world selling handcrafted goodies to Christmas shoppers.
4. Leavenworth Christmas Lighting Festival Leavenworth, Washington | 12/17/16
A festival hailed for its holiday magic and cheer, the popular destination of Leavenworth, Washington beams more than half a million of beautiful lights for three weeks in December for local holiday-goers. Attendees are transported to Leavenworth in motor coaches, which depart from several different locations throughout Seattle, for a wonderful scenic ride filled with magical Bavarian-themed entertainment. Once in Leavenworth, the attendees can then enjoy a Christmas-themed parade, specialty holiday shopping, carolers, musicians, sleigh rides, St. Nick, live music and much more. Included with the price of admission is a deluxe motor coach ride, a personal breakfast box, snacks for the trip and a personal tour escort. Although the event typically includes multiple tour dates throughout December each year, space on the tour is limited and usually sells out fairly quickly.
3. Glitters Spectacular Weekend Glendale, Arizona | 11/25/16
Glendale’s annual holiday celebration is award-winning and has become a beloved tradition for many families throughout the state of Arizona. The family-friendly event is host to the largest free holiday light show in the state with a stunning display of 1.5 million LED lights illuminating sixteen blocks of Historic Downtown Glendale. The event spans multiple weekends where visitors can come to witness plenty of holiday entertainment, award-winning food, hand-crafted holiday gifts, a winter wonderland, a petting zoo for children, face-painting, rides, shopping and visits with Santa Claus. For all of you lovebirds, the Glitters Spectacular has long been the perfect place to pop the question. With its horse-drawn carriage rides and beautiful historical locations, the event provides a very memorable and picturesque environment.
2. The Polar Express Train Ride – Mt. Rainier Railroad and Logging Museum Elbe, Washington | 11/19/16
In keeping with the holiday spirit and annual traditions, this high-flying event brings the magical Christmas fairy-tale of “The Polar Express” train ride to life. Always popular with children and certainly open to patrons of all ages, passengers on the train ride to the “North Pole” are entertained during their journey by chefs while they enjoy hot chocolate and cookies and listen to a reading of “The Polar Express.” Upon arrival at their destination, Santa boards the train and gives each child a Christmas gift. The journey finally ends at Mt. Rainier National Park where the passengers can then get away and enjoy local dining, lodging, art and other amenities while visiting the mountain. Most importantly, it’s the only event on the list where patrons are encouraged to wear pajamas on the trip!
1. Festival of Lights – The Grotto Portland, Oregon | 12/28/16
The most popular event on our list this year was The Grotto’s award-winning musical concert, Festival of Lights, the largest Christmas choral festival in the world. Located in one of the more unique places in the country, The Grotto features nearly 160 indoor holiday concerts performed by the region’s finest school, church and civic choirs. Five indoor concerts are scheduled each evening in the Grotto’s 600-seat chapel, which is known for its cathedral-style acoustics. In addition, the festival features spectacular lighting displays, a dramatic living history theater program and narrated fiber optic shows as part of its walk-through area. Seasonal holiday food and beverages are available and entertainment for all ages takes place throughout The Grotto’s plaza area, including outdoor caroling, puppet shows and live animals. Hundreds of local volunteers dedicate their time each year to help make this extremely popular festival possible.