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Winterlit Hangs Ten

By Constance Tillotson
Staff Writer

November 30 -- Summer may not be endless, but come winter the Southern California spirit will glow brightly through the holiday season.

The area’s world-renowned surfing culture will take center stage Friday, December 3, when the Bayside District shines with its Winterlit Celebration. Slated are a host of celebrities, concerts and a “Surfing Santa" to ring in the third annual event.

"We wanted to capture the ultimate Southern California lifestyle," said Marivi Valcourt, the marketing manager for the Bayside District, which runs the Downtown, including the Third Street Promenade. "So there will be a young, Surfing Santa complete with his surfer elves."

Surfing Santa will find solid waves on the polar backdrop courtesy of award-winning designer Ramsey Avery, who masterminded the 22’ crystallized trees and jutting ice floes. This year a little romance will be added with fluffy strands of garland sprucing up all of the light polls.

A special twist will take place during the lighting ceremony when the audience will not only behold the visual feast but take part as well.

"This year we're creating more of an interactive family event," said Valcourt. "Visitors will actually participate in the lighting, but I'm not ready to reveal how just yet."

The party will just be getting started when on Saturday, December 4, "Winterlit Fun" will transform the Promenade into a real live Candyland for children.

"We wanted to find ways that would really enhance anyone who visits," Valcourt said. "There is going to be a great bubble artist, puppet show, craft booths and a petting zoo with pony rides."

Competition from new regional venues and a wish to give back to the community spurred the new hands-on activities, Valcourt said.

"We are challenged with a lot of competition in the outdoor market place," said Valcourt. "With Century City and The Grove, we wanted to come up with really engaging events that would truly enhance any visit."

Fashionistas will find Santa has answered their wish list early Thursday, December 11, when models take the catwalk sporting winter clothing and accessories from fashion-forward area merchants. Along with the fashion show will be a styling event inside Santa Monica Place. Hair and makeup stylists will be ready with brush and blush to find that perfect “up do” paired with luminous party makeup.

"There's going to be this fabulous and functional give away," said Valcourt. "Style guides for all body types will assist shoppers searching for that special holiday outfit. It will be a very easy guide from a professional stylist on how they can look their best."

When night falls December 11, the outdoor movies will start. Free films will be shown on a 24’ screen for shoppers ready to put down their worn charge cards and rest their tired feet.

Showing will be "Home Alone" and "Miracle on 34th Street," courtesy of the Santa Monica Film Festival and Sprint. "It will be such a great way to take a break and get into the mood for the holiday season," said Valcourt.

Moviegoers can take the chill off with a hot chocolate from the nearby Starbucks and maybe win a free shopping spree or dinner that will be given out during the event.

The Winterlit festivities also will be enhanced with the lighting of a menorah on Hanukkah.

In Santa Monica Place, shoppers can find a place on Santa's knee, as well as a place to give to CHiPS for Kids who will be there collecting toys.

Near Broadway, local community groups will transform into busy elves offering free giftwrapping on two packages per visitor. Donations are always welcome.

"This is a nice way to learn about and interact with our local community groups," said Valcourt.

The Promenade will be lit every evening from December 3 through the first week of January.

To tie in with the Winterlit annual lighting display, Santa Monica Place is offering gift cards for the holiday season that will be embossed with Third Street Promenade and Santa Monica Place. The pre-paid Visa® debit
card can be used anywhere Visa® debit cards are accepted, including
restaurants and spas.

"This is the first time gift cards have been available to shoppers at Third
Street Promenade and throughout the Downtown area," said Valcourt.

Marketing officials for the Macerich Company, which owns Santa Monica Place, said they are pleased to partner with U.S. Bank to offer this convenient option.

"With the pre-paid Gift Card we have provided a simple solution for our
Santa Monica shoppers and can also promote the downtown shopping district
during the holiday shopping season with this special embossed card," said
Erica Boatman-Dixon, Senior Marketing Manager of Santa Monica Place.

Gift cards may be purchased in Santa Monica Place at the Guest Services desk
located on the second level or the Management Office on the third level of
the mall.

The Gift Card can be purchased in denominations from $20 to $500. For more information call (310) 394-5451.

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