COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (KMTV) — According to a news release from the City of Council Bluffs, Winterfest at Bayliss Park will take place on Friday, November 19, from 5:30 to 8 p.m. It was canceled in 2020 due to the pandemic.
“Winterfest is our annual lighting ceremony in Bayliss Park,” said Council Bluffs Mayor Matt Walsh. “What started as a simple countdown in 2015 has grown into a well-attended festival that makes you feel like you’re on a holiday movie set.”
The main event at Winterfest is the Bayliss Park Lighting Ceremony. At 6:30 p.m., Santa Claus and Mayor Walsh lead the crowd in a song of Jingle Bells followed by a countdown, after which Bayliss Park is illuminated with more than 40,000 twinkle lights.
New this year, the Council Bluffs Public Library is bringing real reindeer into Bayliss Park and offering reindeer-themed arts, crafts, and literacy festivities. Also new is a live ice sculpture demonstration presented by PACE. And for the first time, the Union Pacific Museum is lighting its building with a festive display and gifting light-up jewelry to kids.
The 712 Initiative is hosting the Makers Village again, offering the opportunity to shop unique handmade holiday gifts from local vendors in a pop-up market on Pearl Street. Food trucks will be present with concessions available for purchase.
Thanks to The Salvation Army, free hot chocolate will be available. Traditional festivities include live music from the Salvation Army brass ensemble, traveling Dickens carolers, an outdoor screening of a holiday classic, balloon art, face painting, crafts, and several jolly photo ops.
City of Council Bluffs is partnering with The Council Bluffs Public Library, The 712 Initiative, Union Pacific Museum, and Pottawattamie Arts, Culture & Entertainment (PACE) to deliver this Council Bluffs holiday tradition.
All Winterfest activities are free to the public. Items from the food truck and Makers Village will be available for purchase. Find the Winterfest at Bayliss Park event on Facebook @CityofCB.