Heralding the holiday season in a most festive way, Southern Highlands in tandem with Olympia Companies Charitable Foundation, recently hosted its annual Winter Festival and Tree Lighting. A popular way to kick off the holidays as well a welcome opportunity for neighbors to safely gather in the spirit of the season, this year’s event was a holly jolly good time filled with food, family, friends, and festive fun benefiting Operation Warm Heart, a private, nonprofit organization that provides financial assistance to the local airmen and their families of the Nellis and Creech military community.
This year’s Winter Festival and Tree Lighting was bigger and better than ever and featured photo opportunities with the Grinch, Olaf and Anna, and of course with Old’ Saint Nick himself. Kids had the opportunity to write letters to Santa, create gingerbread crafts, drink hot chocolate, and watch a short Olaf movie. The highlight by far though was the two Holiday Express Trains that took passengers on a fun journey through the perfectly decorated event space.
A DJ spun some holiday hits and the choir from nearby Desert Oasis High School spread their harmonic holiday cheer as they caroled throughout the festival leading up to the magical moment when the enormous Christmas Tree was officially lit.
Attendees also enjoyed browsing and shopping in the Vendor Village and many were spotted picking up perfect stocking stuffers and holiday gifts created by local artisans. There was no shortage of food and drinks as popular food trucks including Stripchezze, Flattop’s, The Cake Wagon and Bubbles & Brews were on hand to serve up delicious favorites.
In all, through the sales of train ride tickets, holiday swag including reindeer antler headbands and light-up necklaces, and toy and monetary donations including from Olympia Companies Charitable Foundation, the annual event raised $12,600. More than $2,000 of that was in toy donations for Operation Warm Heart families and children. The Olympia Companies SH Charitable Foundation and Southern Highland have long been proud supporters of Operation Warm Heart. In addition to the Winter Festival and Tree Lighting, other community-focused events including the annual Memorial Day Celebration and the Governor’s Black-Tie events have also served to support this worthy organization.