“Don’t it always seem to go / That you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.“
Those words from the legendary Joni Mitchell were on our minds on Sunday upon the realization that we weren’t the only ones completely and utterly thrilled to see Winterfest, the 94941’s annual holiday celebration, return to an in-person, safety-first event in the downtown plaza after a quasi-virtual hiatus in 2020 due to the COVID-19 crisis.
While the 2020 event was fun and engaging in its own way, the community spirit and vibrancy at the 2021 edition of the event was magical, with seemingly the entire community turning out to celebrate the holiday season, together and socially distant.
As usual, the giant rainbow slide was the main attraction for the kiddos, while a fantastic lineup of singers, dancers and musicians to perform throughout the day, including the Tam High Jazz Ensemble, Happy Feet Dance School, Natalia Betzler & Marin Conservatory of Dance. Children’s games and activities like cornhole, “snow ball” toss and a giant Connect4 game were scattered around the plaza, and Chabad Mill Valley’s Brooklyn shop and community space led the lighting of a huge ice menorah amidst the eight days of Hanukkah.
We were also delighted to have some incredible sponsors, including event producer Steve Bajor’s TeamPro Event, as well as Malugani’s Tire Shop, Mike’s Camera, Dana Williams from Compass, Redwood Trust, FastSigns, MCE Marin Clean Energy, along with the amazing contributions of Ken Brooks as Santa Claus, Gary Ferber Photography, Hamilton Ink and Kiddo!.
One of the holdovers from our virtual 2020 Winterfest continues through Dec. 17: the Winterfest Holiday Hunt, a three-week, scavenger hunt-style contest at more than 40 businesses throughout Mill Valley. The contest centers around Iridescent Stars, which business owners place in storefront windows or inside their businesses. Kids accompanied by a parent will take photos of the stars, as selfies in front of the stars they choose at some amazing local restaurants, retail shops, salons and more.
Holiday Hunters who email at least eight of their photos as attachments to firstname.lastname@example.org are entered into a raffle for one of 18 $20 gift cards to participating businesses (one gift card per raffle winner), with the contenstant who takes and submits the most star photos winning a $40 gift card. We posted a series of clues about participating businesses for Holiday Hunters on the EMV Blog on Nov. 26.
We’ll also be replaying the Winterfest film on the EMV Blog via YouTube throughout the holiday season!