By Bonnie DeShong
A now yearly holiday tradition is to take my great nephew Jay to the Fifth Third Bank Winter Wonderfest at Navy Pier. We first went last year when he was a young lad of five and he had a ball running from one end of the fest to the other, climbing on slides and riding the carousal. This year he is a young man of six and is tall enough to ride more rides and do more things. He still ran from one end of the fest to the other and his favorite activity was still the various slides, but I realized that Winter Wonderfest is for the entire family when I saw his mother and father enjoying the rides, sliding down the slides, and trying ice skating for the very first time.
The Fifth Third Bank Winter Wonderfest runs until January 6, 2019 and is in Navy Pier’s Festival Hall. There is 170,000 square feet of activities and attractions that will bring hearty laughter, wonderment, and fun to the everyone attending. There is also food, cotton candy, and funnel cake to fill festival goer’s bellies.
The decorations are beautiful with colorful decorated trees, a huge rocking chair and hobby horse. Jay wanted to try ice skating, something his father, Jason, had never tried but he strapped on the skates and both set out to concur the ice. Jay decided it wasn’t for him and headed to another slide while his dad braved the railing and went around the rink a couple of times. Now he feels he’s an expert on railing skating.
There is a ride that you lie down on your stomach and fly like Superman. We looked at that one and decided we would pass, but Jason being the daredevil he is, represented and flew the air with the greatest of ease. I kicked butt on the bumper cars. I can’t stress enough that this is fun for the whole family so plan to take part and have a great time.
Of course, Santa and Mrs. Claus were there, and we were surprised by the talented aerialists of Aerial Ataraxia flying over everyone’s heads.
After three full hours of fun it was time for us to go, but not before we promised Jay that we would come back again next year for more Wonderfest fun.
The Fifth Third Bank Winter Wonderfest is a ticketed event and can be bought online or at the on-site box office. Every ticket purchase will include a complimentary pass to ride the iconic, 200-foot-tall Centennial Wheel – an $18 value. Parking is available at Navy Pier for one daily price.
Until next time, keep your EYE to the sky!