This year’s Winterfest will climax once again with the 4th annual “Grape Drop” at the Civic Center Plaza in Old Town Temecula.
Dubbed “New Year’s Eve On The Square,” December 31 will be filled with live bands, ice skating, arts, crafts, dancing, and two — count ‘em — two drops of the giant, one-of-a-kind illuminated grape cluster in front of City Hall. The first drop is planned for 9 p.m. and the second at midnight.
“This year’s grape is much bigger than last year’s,” promised event co-organizer and president of Melody’s Ad Works, Melody Brunsting. “We just started decorating it and it is taking shape.”
Temecula’s most famous grape will measure 12 feet long and 5 feet wide, compared to last year’s 8 feet by 5 feet.
“It’s going to be gorgeous and humongous,” Brunsting said.
To lead off the evening’s festivities, there will be a Grand Procession at 5 p.m., backed by the Second Hand Brass Band. The participants promise to be colorful.
“We’re going to make decorative New Year’s hats from three to five o’clock, then wear them during the Grand Procession,” declared Brunsting. “We’ll walk out with the brass band and start New Year’s.”
About 5,000 attendees took part in last year’s New Year’s Eve event, but weather permitting, this year’s event should see even a larger crowd.
“It really depends on the weather, but if it’s like last year, a balmy 60 degrees, then yes, I think we’ll exceed last year’s attendance,” she said.
The live entertainment this year includes the Silver Beatles, Safety Orange, Valley Winds, and Cloud. “X Factor” alum Caylie Gregorio is also set to perform, as is Kanan Road at Sweet Lumpy’s BBQ.
No reason to stand outside in the chilly air if you don’t have to, right? Not when’s there’s Monopoly and chess to be played.
“It’s a ‘green room’ for the spectators,” said Brunsting. “The bands will have their own green room, but now our audience does too.”
For the little ones, there will be face painting, party jumps, balloon artist Dynamite Dave, and Dr. Goodjohn’s Magic Show, which starts at 6:30 p.m.
“It’s a family-friendly, free, fun way to spend New Year’s,” Brunsting said. “From the first year we did this (four years ago), when we dropped the grape from a crane, it’s become a Temecula tradition.”
For further information call 951-678-1456 or visit TemeculaEvents.org.
Chris Baptiste is a local writer and regular contributor to SWRNN.