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Holidays Downtown

By Brooke Killgore and Will Jones

Tree Lighting

Walnut Creek’s annual tree-lighting and downtown parade is back (and colder than ever) on December 1, 2022. According to Broadway Plaza’s website, community members can stop by anytime from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. to enjoy several activities during the festival with live music, food and drink and guest appearances, such as Santa Claus himself. The “Holiday Parade of Lights & Tree Lighting” has been a way to kick off the holiday season for years on end and a truly special part of bringing the community together. Executive director of the Walnut Creek Downtown Association, Kathy Hemmenway, discussed some of the upcoming downtown events that are available for all to enjoy. 

“[The tree lighting and parade] is a great holiday tradition where community organizations participate with floats, music and bands. The ice rink will have a Zamboni rolling around with ‘Frosty the Snowman’ and the night ends with the tree lighting,” Hemmenway said.  

More is to come within the month of December, such as the December 3 “Sip, Shop and Stroll” event. “We’re going to have live entertainment … sprinkled throughout the downtown area. Vendors will be selling their arts and crafts at Waterlight Plaza and a lot of businesses and restaurants will be open for guests to grab a map to shop and dine.”

The holiday season means a lot for Walnut Creek residents, with events allowing the community to come and celebrate together. For Las Lomas freshman Nimisha Chowdhury, the downtown events are a way to bring back a sense of her previous home, which she described as constantly snowy. “I used to live in snowy places so [there is a lot of joy] in the events. I love everything from the trees to the fake snow and the dancers,” she said in an interview with The Page. 

If you are looking for more information for the downtown events, you can visit www.walnutcreekdowntown.com or visit their Instagram: @walnutcreekdowntown. 

Ice Skating

         For this 2022-2023 winter season, Downtown Walnut Creek will host its very own “Walnut Creek on Ice”. Walnut Creek on Ice is returning for the 17th year back to Civic Park for its exciting 5-week stretch. The ice skating rink will be located in Civic Park and will remain open from December 9th all the way to January 16th. Ice skating allows skating for private ice rentals, along with other private parties at any time. General Admission for skates is $20 per person for a 90-minute time period. Children under the age of 3 are free with a paid skating admission.            

While the Ice Skating rink is mainly used for beginner skaters and people just going for fun, there is a frequent pass for more serious skaters for $179 for 10 visits. 

           Walnut Creek on Ice is a great place to bring your family and friends. It is walking distance from Broadway Plaza and near many other fun attractions and locations found in Downtown Walnut Creek. Many families from all over will fill the Walnut Creek skating rink after shopping at Broadway Plaza or spending the day in Downtown Walnut Creek. Even if you are not the best skater, Walnut Creek on Ice can still be a blast as you can practice by starting on the rails. If you really want to learn how to skate or even become a better skater, the Rink offers Ice Skating lessons from experienced instructors. Along with Ice skating, Walnut Creek on Ice features Great Music, and tasty treats such as warm hot chocolate in the Snack Shack.

Hemmenway said that the ice rink is “the biggest holiday tradition in Walnut Creek and we have a couple new programs that we’re excited to provide during this winter season.”

The Walnut Creek on Ice Seasonal Event adds to the winter spirit and adds more fun things to do in Walnut Creek with friends and family.