Sausalito, California, is a great getaway destination tucked away in the hills overlooking San Francisco Bay. Visitors will enjoy views of the Bay, an assortment maritime related activities, a plethora of art galleries, and community events for the entire family.
Sausalito Winterfest is the premier holiday event in the community, and has been for nearly three decades. This three-day spectacular kicks off with the Naughty or Nice Ball, where attendees can dance the night away and enjoy food and beverages from great local establishments. Kris Kringle for Kids is a family-friendly event held on Day 2. Kids and adults will love the games, arts, crafts, music, and other activities. The Sausalito Lighted Boat Parade wraps up the second day with a vibrant display of boats making their way down the waterfront. On the last day of the event, attendees can participate in a 5K run/walk, pancake breakfast, and even a holiday-themed concert. We got the chance to interview Cheryl Popp, Marketing and PR Specialist for the Sausalito Chamber of Commerce, to talk about this unique holiday celebration.
RAL: Tell me about the event.
CP: Winterfest is a holiday weekend of waterfront festivity in Sausalito culminating each year with the city’s legendary Lighted Boat Parade and fireworks on the San Francisco Bay. Staged along the waterfront in downtown Sausalito under the “Big Tent” in the Sausalito Yacht Harbor Marina, Winterfest Weekend attracts over 3,000-holiday revelers of all ages from throughout the Bay Area.
Always the second weekend in December, Winterfest kicks off Friday night, December 9, with the annual Naughty or Nice Ball. This year’s theme is “Ho Ho Hollywood,” celebrating the golden age of Hollywood with Foreverland - the popular Michael Jackson tribute band. This festive and glam event always brings out the best little black dresses and swanky attire, with 15 famous local restaurants catering the evening.
Saturday, December 10, is Marin Kids Making Merry - a family and children’s day under the Big Tent downtown. This is a free public event for children that includes cookie decorating, holiday arts & crafts (ornament making) storytelling, live music, entertainment, and more. Plus, jolly St. Nick (Santa) will be holding court as well.
The 29th Annual Sausalito Lighted Boat Parade is that evening, Saturday, December 10. Dozens of brightly lit and beautifully decorated boats parade along the scenic shoreline, in front of the Sausalito Yacht Club and the Winterfest tent. The Winterfest arena is open to the public and offers a sheltered, warm, festive, and hospitable site for viewing the parade.
The weekend wraps up with a breathtaking 5K walk/run along the Sausalito waterfront and a traditional pancake breakfast on Sunday, December 11. Both are a benefit for local educational programs for kids: the Dipsea Kidz At-Risk-Youth Program and the Waterfront Foundation Youth Education Fund who teaches children from all walks of life about sailing, nautical skills, the marine ecosystems of the bay, environmental sustainability, and stewardship.
RAL: What can an attendee expect to find for local lodging?
CP: A world-class destination, Sausalito attracts visitors from around the globe. Just minutes from San Francisco on the other side of the iconic Golden Gate Bridge, Sausalito is a gateway to the famous California wine country and West Marin Coast. Sausalito’s Mediterranean charm and hospitality come through in its local lodging options from an internationally acclaimed resort to bed and breakfasts along the waterfront.
RAL: What does this event mean to the community?
CP: Sausalito and Marin County look forward to Winterfest each year. The event brings locals and visitors alike into the area to shop, eat, play and stay. The local businesses benefit from this influx as do the non-profit children’s programs that are beneficiaries of the special events. The event also supports and showcases a host of community groups and charities: the Sausalito Yacht Club, Lions Club, Dipsea Race Foundation, Sausalito Women's Club, Boy Scouts, Sausalito Chamber of Commerce, Performing Arts Educators, US Army Corp of Engineers, U.S. Coast Guard/Golden Gate District. Winterfest promotes awareness of the local community, especially the hospitality and retail sectors, as well as the many unique experiences available in southern Marin County.
RAL: Why should people come to your event?
CP: Winterfest weekend has become a traditional outing on many holiday calendars. The spirited events make for a great party with friends, a memorable and fun family outing, a romantic evening for two or the perfect venue for a company holiday party. It’s a fantastic opportunity to experience the waterfront gem of Sausalito and do all your holiday shopping!
For more information about the Sausalito Winterfest, please visit their website.