Holiday cheer at Fairplex

Fairplex is officially all decked out for the holidays! Each year we open our campus for company holiday parties, charity fundraisers and myriad other festive events. The same creative team that brings you the L.A. County Fair whips out their Santa hats to make some holiday magic at the Wine & Beer Marketplace, Top of the Park restaurant, Avalon, hotel & conference center, expo halls and McKinley’s Grille.


How to Create a Winter Wonderland in Southern California

Unless you have the desire to trek up to the mountains for your shin dig or plan on renting a snow machine, hosting a White Christmas is probably not an option for your SoCal event. Don’t worry. Here are a few tips on how to transform your dinner/party/get together/whathaveyou into an event so full of winter your guests will hardly miss the snow.

The Main Attraction


fireplace bar by Bentleys Grill How to Create a Winter Wonderland in Southern California

If your event is small, consider a venue where a fireplace is one of the focal points. Intimate dinners are perfect for this. Grace the table with candles. Have a cozy sit-down dinner with the fire roaring in the background or set up bonfires and heaters throughout the venue for a larger crowd.

For the more elaborate parties, consider bringing ice into the mix. Depending on your budget and space, renting an ice rink might be just the unique, winter kick your event needs. Greet guests with warm hot chocolate and a pair of skates, then let them glide the rink or lounge in comfy chairs.

Ice Rink Eisbahn synthetic1 How to Create a Winter Wonderland in Southern California

If it’s space that’s an issue, go a little cheese-ball-tastic and rent out a human snow globe. Hire a photographer and make that your photobooth for the night.

For those who don’t have have a large budget or a large crowd, ice rinks and giant snow globes are too extreme. Instead, focus on decorations with a winter glow — jingle bells, garlands, sparkles, cool colors (silver, grey, white, plum, forest green, blue) and create that wintery atmosphere through lighting, smell (helloo cinnamon candles) and music.

Color Scheme
For color schemes consider more neutral tones such as white, gold, silver, cream, greys and perhaps jewel tones. The overall effect is winter — the classic white snow on tree tops, the sparkle of ice, the glow of Christmas lights — you get the idea.


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Events By Heather Ham Blog

Appeal to nature
Implement pine cones, garlands, holly wreaths and other forms of seasonal foliage to set the winter mood.

Call in the diamonds
In a perfect world, a winter wonderland is laden with tons of sparkling snow. Create the same effect with glitter, sparkles and diamond-like decor.

Never underestimate the power of lights. They can transform your event into a glowing, visual success. Wrap the patio in twisting streams of lights or drape them across open space dining areas.



Depending on budget, size of audience and mood, the food and beverage choices can differ greatly. Aim for “winter” treats like peppermint desserts, chocolate goodies, holiday cocktails and warm drinks. Here are some fun ones:

Silent Night Martini

silent night2 236x300 How to Create a Winter Wonderland in Southern California Winter Wonderland Martini
WinterWonderland 430x592 217x300 How to Create a Winter Wonderland in Southern California Spicy GingerMan
SpicyGingerMan 414x800 155x300 How to Create a Winter Wonderland in Southern California Candy Buffet

winterwedding candybuffet 3 How to Create a Winter Wonderland in Southern California

Taking a page from the Hostess With The Mostess, create a winter candy buffet. Use glass mason jars or clear containers to display everyone’s favorite  treats. Purchase white and blue M&M color combinations, candy canes, brownies topped with white frosting and blue sprinkles, sparkling white and blue rock candy and other similar goodies to create a dessert table practically dripping with snow.

Hot Chocolate Cupcakes

peppermint hot chocolate cu1 211x300 How to Create a Winter Wonderland in Southern California At the end of the day it’s about what creates the best experience for your guests. Whether it’s an elaborate ice skating soiree or a simple, down-to-earth Secret Santa exchange, there are plenty of ways to bring winter into a 75-degree weather atmosphere.


Holiday Fun in the Inland Empire

As winter break nears, the holiday spirit seems to infect everyone. There are plenty of festive events happening as we close out 2012. Here are some of our top choices for the Inland Empire area:

1. Holiday Cookie Decorating Party at Fairplex

christmascookies1 230x300 Holiday Fun in the Inland Empire Join us at the Flower & Garden Pavilion this Thursday (Dec. 13) for an afternoon of cookies, frosting, sprinkles, hot chocolate, arts & crafts, games and fun!

Whether you decide to save your cookies for dessert with the family or to demolish them on the spot (by way of teeth and tummy), it is up to you.

Unleash the creative side of your brain and decorate a cookie and spend some time with the IE community over a cup of hot chocolate!


2. Mission Inn Festival of Lights

01 300x196 Holiday Fun in the Inland Empire

For the past 20 years, the owners of the Mission Inn Hotel & Spa have opened their holiday-eager arms to the community by way of lighting up their resort with over 3.6 million Christmas lights, opening an outdoor ice skating rink (available until Dec. 20), setting up a fully ornamented Christmas tree, bringing Santa Claus to the kids and unleashing the talents of Dickensian carolers.

3. Christmas In The Colonies
Those who grew up in Southern California might remember field trips to Riley’s Farm during the fall and spring months to learn all about log building, square dancing, apple picking and essentially being  transported into a world devoid of television, electricity and the comforts of modern day living. During the holiday season Riley’s Farm transforms into colonial Virginia with Christmas in the Colonies complete with a Christmas feast, carols and “old-school” dancing.

4. Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow. The Inland Empire is just minutes away from the snowy mountains! If you are so inclined, take the family up for a time of sledding, snowball fights, snowman building and for those who have  the skill, ski and snowboard before the short season comes to an end.

The past month has been full of Christmas and holiday celebrations, parades and festivals. If there are any you would like to give a shout-out to, just leave a comment below and we’ll add it to this post!

Happy Holidays from Fairplex!

Twas’ three weeks before Christmas and all through the grounds
Every person was stirring and making their rounds
McKinley’s was sparkling with glitter and cheer
Fairplex festive decor was seen far and near…

large Happy Holidays from Fairplex!

large Happy Holidays from Fairplex!

large Happy Holidays from Fairplex!

large Happy Holidays from Fairplex!

large Happy Holidays from Fairplex!

large Happy Holidays from Fairplex!

Click on each photo for a closer look at our decor! McKinley’s Grille, Avalon and the Sheraton Fairplex Hotel and Conference Center are fully decorated and ready to welcome guests for the holiday season. For a glance at their beginnings follow the jump here and here.

A little holiday magic in Los Angeles

1 icerinksamo A little holiday magic in Los Angeles

Photo by

Well, “winter” is fast approaching in Southern California. We might even see some drizzle or something. While some L.A. lokes are lucky enough to escape to the mountains for a couple weeks of White Christmas, the rest of us are stuck in the smog-covered glory we like to call Los Angeles. And that means traffic. And crowds of people in every mall, restaurant, grocery store and other places we need to be to throw our holiday parties.

Don’t think this is a negative blog post though! In fact, our friends at LAist just released their top three picks on where to find a little winter fun with their top ice skating spots in the city. Parties don’t have to be confined to ballrooms, bars and homes. Why not move your guests to the ice?

Follow the jump to check out some prime locations for a little winter fun. Click.

Also from LAist: Up your holiday hosting game with one of their suggested classes. No one will accuse you of making bad food or decorating poorly. Start being awesome.