Sleigh bells ring, are you listening. In Tulare, lights are glistening. A beautiful sight, visitors are full of delight. Walking in a Global Winter Wonderland.
That’s the scene at the Tulare County Fairgrounds, which normally this time of year is a cold, dark place. It’s been transformed with light-filled displays that cover the entire facility.
Global Winter Wonderland is the world’s largest light sculpture display. It covers the fairgrounds with 51 colorful sculptures of global landmarks, including the Eiffel Tower, Big Ben, White House and Sphinx. There are also displays featuring Martin Luther King, King Tut, Chinese dragons, dinosaurs and flower gardens.
Pamela Fyock, chief executive officers and general manager of Tulare Fairgrounds, describes the experience this way: “It is like it’s snowing lights.”
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The lanterns are made with an iron frame, draped in silk. It took 160 tons of steel and 485,000 square feet of silk to create the Tulare display. Along with the steel and silk, lanterns are created with recycled materials, such as 50,000 pieces of china and 20,000 recycled plastic water bottles.
1 millionlights included in the Tulare Fairgrounds Global Winter Wonderland design
The design means the displays can stand up to bad weather, including rain. All of the attractions are designed to interest young and old. Fyock says that it is a great place for families.
“This is a great opportunity for the entire region,” Fyock says. “When you see it on the grounds, you are going to say ‘Wow!’ ”
Global Winter Wonderland is the creation of Lulu Huang, whose goal has been to celebrate diverse cultures while breaking down social barriers and misconceptions.
“Whatever language we speak, whatever the color of our skin, and no matter where we come from, we are all together,” Huang says. “We are people of the Earth. We have to live with each other, love each other, and most importantly learn from each other.”
Haung’s efforts are accomplished through the light exhibit, plus a stage show that features performers from Russia, China, Africa and Argentina. The performances are included in the ticket price.
Fyock says that all of the food vendors have been selected to continue that international theme.
Visalia’s Omar Reyes and Susan Machado and their three children were amazed by the light displays during their visit last week. But their favorite part was the entertainment.
“I think it is pretty good. The kids really like it,” Reyes says. “I think it is worth the price.”
That’s the kind of response Fyock has been getting since the doors opened in late November.
“People in the community love it because it’s something to do during the holidays. Plus we have a carnival, all the food and the entertainment is off the hook,” Fyock says.
For so long, the Tulare County Fair was known for its entertainment. But the whole dynamics of booking fairs has changed and so this is an opportunity for the fair to become very relative again for the community and the region.
Pamela Fyock, chief executive officers and general manager of Tulare Fairgrounds
Global Winter Wonderland has been at Cal Expo for two years. Fyock, who is also CEO of the Sacramento County Fairgrounds, started talking about this display coming here about a year ago, shortly after she took over the job in Tulare.
“This display is completely different from the one that is at Cal Expo,” she says. “Next year, if everything goes as we anticipate, the Cal Expo show will come here. There will be a new show at Cal Expo.”
Global Winter Wonderland
- Tulare County Fairgrounds, 620 S. K St., Tulare
- Open Dec. 4-6, 11-13, and Dec. 18-Jan. 3
- Doors open 3 p.m. except Dec. 4, 11 and 18, when they open at 4:30 p.m.
- Tickets $16 for adults, $12 for children/seniors, children under 3 enter free. Unlimited ride wristband is $25
- Tickets, season passes and carnival wristbands are available at www.globalwonderland.com.