An old-fashioned Holiday Wonderland


Community event offers music, food and family fun

As the holiday season approaches and families turn to traditions, one classic celebration not to be missed is the annual Holiday Wonderland in Del Mar.

This year’s event will be held Dec. 7 in downtown Del Mar between 11th and 15th streets, along Camino Del Mar. Featuring free and ticketed activities, musicians and performers, shopping and offerings from local restaurants, Holiday Wonderland will also conclude with a tree lighting ceremony in front of the L’Auberge Del Mar.

“This is our fourth year of doing the Holiday Wonderland event,” said Jen Grove, Del Mar Village Association executive director. “It’s about the community coming together during the holiday season.”

Presented by the Del Mar Village Association and the city of Del Mar, the project draws support from business owners, PTA volunteers, school staff members and residents to create a distinctive holiday festival with an old-fashioned feel.

“In this land of strip malls and housing developments that stretch to (Interstate) 15, it’s nice to come to a place that has nostalgia,” Grove said. “I think when people come to this event, that’s what they’re looking for.”

Adding to the holiday atmosphere this year are new holiday lights and banners which will adorn the light poles along Camino Del Mar. Those decorations - and the 35-foot tree - will set the stage for the multicultural celebration.

This year, Grove said it is especially important that residents and visitors attend the Holiday Wonderland.

As in years past, a portion of the proceeds will benefit the village’s downtown revitalization efforts and local schools. This year’s recipients include The Winston School, Del Mar Heights and Del Mar Hills.

“The more support we have at the event through ticket sales, the more we can give back to the schools,” Grove said.

One of the biggest challenges organizers faced was securing sponsors and reducing expenses because of the economy. Many restaurateurs and merchants are depending on the festival to boost sales.

“A lot of people get on the highways and head to the local malls instead of going downtown,” Grove said. “We’re trying to shift that behavior.”

Holiday Wonderland in Del Mar offers something for every budget. Many of the activities are free, such as the entertainment provided by musicians, school choirs and dance troupes, visits with firefighters and lifeguards, and complimentary refreshments at the tree lighting ceremony.

The festival will also offer a children’s fun zone with inflatable jumps, carnival games and face painting, horse and carriage rides, arts and crafts, a gift bazaar and food samplings from more than 20 Del Mar restaurants.

The Del Mar Library is also offering some fun attractions for children: hands-on craft projects, a puppet show, cookie decorating and a visit from Mother Goose.

Advance tickets, available at, are $20 for a book of 25. The Web site also provides a detailed map of activities and a list of sponsors.

Holiday Wonderland

  • 1 to 5 p.m. Dec. 7
  • Downtown Del Mar
  • Between 11th and 15th streets, along Camino

Del Mar

  • (858) 755-1179