Waterford will host the tenth annual Winterval festival from 18 November until 23 December.
A total of 38 events are on offer, with 25 of those being free of charge.
There will be a gigantic and magical talking postbox, where children can post their Christmas letters and be entertained by an elf post collection show each weekend, a hall of magic mirrors, a host of free children’s workshops, a free shadow puppet show, and GLOW, a magical trail of lights at New Street Gardens, for families to explore. The Winterval light show, which will be on offer every half-hour, will be projected onto the purpose-built Winterval Castle, placed as the entry point to the festival.
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Winterval favourites will also be on offer across the city, from the ice rink on the city’s quayside to the vintage Ferris wheel at Arundel Square and a vintage carousel. The Waterford Eye is also back, as is a reimagined Winterval mini-express train. In addition, there are some brand-new elements, including a virtual ride in Santa’s sleigh, plus a wizard-and-dragon interactive exhibition that offers the thrill of seeing fictitious characters brought to life through simulations, gigantic animatronics, and visuals.
Santa will be taking centre stage at the festival, in the heart of the city, on Broad Street. He will be ensconced in Santa’s Central Station, where a band of merry elves will lead children to the door of Santa’s magical cabin, and families can meander through Santa’s city centre installation, taking pictures with photo scenes along the way.
There will be live music on stage each weekend in Waterford’s Cultural Quarter, featuring a mix of community and professional acts, serving as the perfect backdrop to the festival market.
The Winterval Christmas market will be set out in a series of wooden chalets, spanning the Viking city from George’s Street to Hanover Street, and on to Gladstone Street, and all in the midst of the Winterval family fun attractions. The market will connect with Waterford Crafts at Garter Lane Gallery, an all-encompassing variety of over 100 food, drink, craft and gift producers and creators.
Déise Medieval will host a traditional Viking settlement, where festival-goers can hark back in time and enjoy the real-life smells, foods and experiences of Viking life during the festive season, when Waterford was first established.
Brand-new elements include an opportunity for visitors to book a date for their dogs with Santa Paws, plus Circus Gerbola will be hosting a festive show each weekend.
The full Winterval festival programme is available to view and book online at winterval.ie.