Welcoming winter and kicking off the holiday season, Southern Highlands in partnership with Olympia Companies Charitable Foundation, hosted its popular annual Winter Festival and Tree Lighting. A welcome opportunity for neighbors to gather in the spirit of the season, this year’s event was a holly jolly good time filled with food, family, friends, and festive fun benefiting Operation Warm Heart, a nonprofit organization that provides financial assistance to the local airmen and their families of the Nellis and Creech military community.
Bundled up to brave the wind and wintry weather, hundreds of Southern Highlands residents enjoyed food, music, and merriment. This year’s Winter Festival and Tree Lighting was magical and featured photo opportunities with Frosty the Snowman, The Gingerbread Man, and of course Santa Claus himself. Kids had the opportunity to write letters to Santa, create a gingerbread train craft, drink hot chocolate, and enjoy Story Time with Mrs. Claus. One of the highlights was the Holiday Express Trains which took passengers on a fun journey through the perfectly decorated event space.
A DJ spun some holiday hits and the choir from nearby Desert Oasis High School spread their harmonic holiday cheer as they caroled throughout the festival leading up to the magical moment when the enormous Christmas Tree was officially lit.
Attendees also enjoyed browsing and shopping in the Vendor Village and many were spotted picking up perfect stocking stuffers and holiday gifts created by local artisans. There was no shortage of food and drinks as popular food trucks including Alpha Dawg, Cake Wagon, Flat Top’s Burgers and Shakes and more were on hand to serve up delicious favorites.
In all, through the sales of train ride tickets, holiday swag including reindeer antler headbands and light-up necklaces, and toy and monetary donations including from Olympia Companies Charitable Foundation, the annual event raised $6,000. With an additional $2,000 being donated by Garry Goett on behalf of Olympia Companies.
The Olympia Companies Charitable Foundation and Southern Highlands have long been proud supporters of Operation Warm Heart. In addition to the Winter Festival and Tree Lighting, other community-focused events include the upcoming annual Memorial Day Celebration and Fall Festival.