Eventz for a winter to remember


Coco Tsaur

‘TIS THE SEASON TO SHINE: Kelly Myers (left) and Christian Giles (right) discover the interior design of a Christmas ornament at Holidayz at the Park with their furry friends.

Yejin Heo, Staff Writer

We’ll survive this winter season without the usual Disneyland tree lightings and velvet seats for a production of “The Nutcracker,” but that doesn’t mean we have to end this difficult year without any holiday joy. There are still many holiday events around Irvine to enjoy while following safety precautions.

Hikari Festival of Lights

The Hikari Festival of Lights at Tanaka Farms is a sparkling sight brimming with cheer and glittery lights. Ending on Jan. 10, 2021, the drive-through extravaganza covers the 30-acre farm with seasonal sparkle, complete with lit-up trees, Japanese umbrellas, snowflakes and sugarcane from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Admission on Monday through Thursday costs $49 per vehicle while admission from Friday through Sunday costs $59.

The event was inspired by the Kobe Luminarie event in Japan where over 200,000 hand-painted lights are lit every December to commemorate the Great Hanshin earthquake of 1995. Since the survivors had to live in darkness for weeks because of electricity outages, the Italian government donated thousands of lights, hoping that they would act as a symbol of national hope, restoration and recovery. The lights continue to adorn Japan every year since, keeping the tradition alive and even spreading its influence to other countries. In fact, “Hikari” directly translates to “light” in Japanese, a fitting name for the dazzling event.

“For those who love seeing the lights and decorations of the holiday season, this is a perfect excursion to go on,” junior Rhea Meta said. “It only lasts around 15-20 minutes, but it is still a fun thing to do in the midst of consistently staying at home due to the virus.”

Irvine Spectrum Holiday Spectacular

The Irvine Spectrum Drive-in theater is back, now showcasing movies throughout the holiday season. Movies like “Home Alone,” “Elf” and “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” will be playing at 7:30 p.m. from Friday to Sunday at a price per vehicle ranging from $40 to $60. The socially distanced event only accepts pre-ordered online tickets.

The Irvine Spectrum is also hosting its Candy Cane Scavenger Hunt. Players can grab a participation card from the Guest Services kiosk and try to find all the candy canes in the mall. If completed, participants will receive a sweet treat and be entered into a raffle for a chance to win an annual Attractions Pass, giving them unlimited access to the Ferris Wheel, Carousel and Lucky Climber at the Irvine Spectrum.

Holidayz at the Park

The Great Park is hosting a six-week celebration consisting of various holiday-themed events until Jan. 3. Photo-ops take place in the Palm Court, which displays a recognition of Saint Nick and the Greak Park’s military roots through light decoration from dusk to 9:30 p.m. every day.

“I’d recommend going at night so it’s a little less crowded,” junior Yun-Seo Lee said. “My little sister loved the candy cane palm trees.”

The Holidayz at the Park is also hosting a city-wide pajama movie party that will take place from the safety of everyone’s car on Dec. 12 and 18 at 7 p.m. Tickets are free with pre-registration and a food donation to the Orange County Food Bank. The gingerbread house decorating workshop is the final event the Great Park is offering, which takes place on Dec. 12 from 10 to 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 to 2 p.m. For $55, parents and children are welcome to decorate a gingerbread house together with the help of the staff. The class fee includes all the supplies and decorations necessary to build a gingerbread house.