This year, Long Beach held their annual tree lighting ceremony in collaboration with the Queen Mary and the Long Beach Ronald McDonald House. It took place in the “Holiday Village CHILL” attraction. CHILL had a medley of activities including a gingerbread creation station, a candy cane maze, and of course the awesome Ice Kingdom. This was a whopping 13,000 sq. ft. wonderland handmade entirely out of ice! There were gorgeous and meticulously designed sculptures of whimsical carousal horses, castles, and even penguins. Little ones lined up to get photos with Santa and hear stories read by Mrs. Clause. Others enjoyed a rare Southern California treat, outdoor ice skating on the 6,500 sq. ft. outdoor ice rink.
As a charitable event, participants were encouraged to donate items located on a wish list for admittance. This was a small token of kindness compared to the amazing amount of gifts and attractions it help support. And of course this also was a great way to learn about and contribute to the Long Beach Ronald McDonald House which has been providing an invaluable service as home away from home” for families of seriously ill children receiving care at a nearby medical facility.
We really got into the spirit of the season with musical wonders, AJ & The Merry Gentlemen and also a stunning performance by the International Children’s Choir. After all the amazing acts and speeches held on the Igloo Stage were complete the man himself, Santa Claus, came out and flipped the switch to light up the 60 foot tree. It was a heartwarming and thrilling event all with the iconically Long Beach back drop of the beautiful Queen Mary setting the stage. With it’s rich maritime history, authentic Art Deco decor, and stunning views of the Pacific Ocean and Long Beach city skyline, it is a must see to all visitors and Long Beach residents alike. Complimentary holiday treats were available in abundance including coffee, chocolates, hot apple cider and Santa’s favorite treat, Cookies!