WinterFest brings holiday spirit to Downtown Fresno

FRESNO, Calif.

Downtown Fresno's Old Water Tower is a visitor's center and gift shop, but this season it's also part of the first Fresno Winterfest. Everyone is invited to drop by the participating venues.

Water Tower volunteer Dan Masterson said, "Making ornaments with the folks who show up. So we're going to have arts and crafts, hot chocolate, cookies, art and puppies. What could be better that?"

Across the street, the Legion Of Valor is hosting Christmas At The Vet. It's salute to the once popular Christmas at the Met museum that closed nearly two years ago.

"Since we don't have that museum any more and we don't have Christmas at the Met -- I though why not have 'Christmas a the Vet,'" said Mike Harris with the Legion of Valor.

The trees were decorated and donated for this event by several groups, including one of the city's employee unions. "Because we were doing it for the Veteran's Museum, and a lot of us have family members over there serving with the military, me included, we chose red, white and blue theme," said Fresno City Employee Dee Barnes.

The decorated trees will be auctioned off that afternoon, but the museum will remain open for visitors to explore until 8 p.m.

Winterfest also includes a Children's Parade down the Fulton Mall, the Muex home will feature a children's Christmas exhibit, and there will be a winter sports exhibition on Van Ness Avenue.

Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin said there is something for everyone, "On the Fulton Mall starting about 11 o'clock we've got the Children's Parade and an art exhibit at the Water Tower and there's an extreme exhibit at Club One Casino."

Look for the lighting of the city's holiday tree at 5:30 p.m. The tree is there, says Swearengin, because of the employees who worked to bring it here and decorate it. "All of this is done by the generosity and holiday spirit of the city employees. "

The festivities begin at 10 a.m. offering plenty to see and do. Your gift from the city is free parking all day long.

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