Snow Wonder and Marina Lights usher in the holiday spirit at Burton Chace Park

By Christina Campodonico

Tons of snow and shimmering lights make Burton Chace Park a magical place to celebrate the start
of the holidays

Some yuletide traditions are timeless. Others are quite new. On Saturday, both kinds make magic together when Snow Wonder and Marina Lights jumpstart the Marina del Rey Holiday Boat Parade festivities at Burton Chance Park.

The L.A. County Department of Beaches & Harbors’ fourth annual Snow Wonder returns at noon with face-painting, street food, holiday tunes and tons of snow! Adventurous kids and families can sled down a gentle 35-foot slope or toss snowballs in a 200-square-foot play area.

For the Instagram crowd and families in need of holiday pictures, special photo stations are scattered throughout the park. Take a selfie with an illuminated lighthouse, gather family and friends in front a 19-foot sailboat, or step inside a snow globe for a unique photo shoot. Venice Paparazzi will have five roving photographers at the ready to catch candid moments.

When the sun goes down, the lights go up for Marina Lights — Burton Chace Park’s month-long display of sparkling holiday illuminations that glow from 4 to 10 p.m. every night in December. This Saturday you’ll also see fireworks going off above the main channel to open the boat parade.

“A lot of people come so early to get a spot for the boat parade, so here is a great way to enjoy your afternoon while you’re waiting for it to start,” says Kendra Strey of the Marina del Rey Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The addition of Marina Lights last year was a big hit, notes Strey, and extends the holiday magic all the way to New Year’s Eve. The Voices of Christmas will sing a cappella caroling from 4 to 6 p.m. on Dec. 15, followed by an outdoor screening of “The Santa Clause,” and again on Dec. 29 followed by “Frozen.” The Wonderelles will perform ’50s-style rock ‘n’ roll tunes on Dec. 22, followed by “The Nightmare Before Christmas.”

“The addition of holiday lights in Burton Chace Park make it extra special and extra festive,” says Strey. “We have the free entertainment on Saturdays, but people can still come any night of the week. Maybe people have a nice dinner on the waterfront and walk it off with the lights. … It’s a great way to kick off the holiday season.”

Snow Wonder is from noon to 6 p.m. Saturday (Dec. 8), and Marina Lights remain on display from 4 to 10 p.m. nightly through December. Visit for more information.