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Local holiday events offer seasonal cheer

A+child+enjoys+a+skating+lesson+at+the+Holiday+Ice+Rink.+The+rink+is+a+special+annual+event+put+on+at+The+Lakes+in+Thousand+Oaks+every+winter.+Photo+credit%3A+Cole+Carlson
A child enjoys a skating lesson at the Holiday Ice Rink. The rink is a special annual event put on at The Lakes in Thousand Oaks every winter. Photo credit: Cole Carlson

A child enjoys a skating lesson at the Holiday Ice Rink. The rink is a special annual event put on at The Lakes in Thousand Oaks every winter. Photo credit: Cole Carlson

A child enjoys a skating lesson at the Holiday Ice Rink. The rink is a special annual event put on at The Lakes in Thousand Oaks every winter. Photo credit: Cole Carlson

Dallas Vorburger

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Every year, festivities are held in anticipation of the holidays. Bright lights and rich colors decorate communities, as good feelings become contagious.

In the Ventura County area, there are many events being held in light of the season. Many of these events are annual and offer entertainment for people of all ages. As finals are completed and the semester comes to a close, students may find themselves looking for a cheerful way to begin their winter break. Local events offer a fun and festive way to unwind into the holidays and to be a part of the community.

If you are looking for an active way to spend an afternoon over the break, the Holiday Ice Rink at the Lakes at Thousand Oaks is back for another season. Ice Rink employee Vanessa Balao, back for her third season, has seen a wide variety of age groups in her time spent there.

“We have parents bring kids that are too small for the skates,” said Balao. “We also get a lot of teenagers on Friday and Saturday nights, and adults during the week.”

The Holiday Ice Rink opened Nov. 9 and ends Jan. 28, with an admission fee of $15 that includes skate rentals. The hours are Mon. through Thurs. are 12 p.m. to 9 p.m., Fri. 12 p.m. to 10 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Sun. 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.

When looking for a more casual and informative way to spend time after finals, some students may find interest in visiting the Reagan Library in Simi Valley, where the annual tree exhibit is being held. Since the opening of the library in 1991, Christmas time has been celebrated through the decoration of trees, rotating between three different themes. This year’s theme is An American Christmas, with 25 trees draped with tokens, artifacts and symbolic items representing eras throughout America’s history that have led the country to where it is today. Chief Marketing Officer Melissa Giller, who has been working at the library for sixteen years, has enjoyed finding something new and interesting in this exhibit each year it returns.

“What’s really fun about this exhibit is that when you stand back and look at these trees, they are beautifully decorated and look like pieces of art,” said Giller. “But when you get up close, it’s like a history lesson.”

The American Christmas tree exhibit is included in the price of admission to the museum, $29 for adults with a $3 discount offered for those with a student ID. Through the month of Dec. until Jan. 7, anyone can visit this special exhibit to find special tokens of the past.

Families and groups of friends may find themselves looking for a festive winter experience, in which case the L.A. Zoo Lights holiday display would be the place to go. From 6-10 p.m. until Jan. 7, a portion of the zoo will be decorated with bright lights and holiday decor. While most of the animals are put to bed before the event, there are some reindeer that will be part of the fun. The display also includes the Holiday LAIR, a special section that features various amphibians and reptiles getting in the spirit of the season. This event is separate from a standard zoo admission ticket, and varies depending on dates and age.

What would the completion of finals and starting out winter break be without some good tunes and entertainment? The annual Winter Fantasy and Light Show in Oxnard is held for the entire month of Dec., and offers a special experience to viewers of any age. Held at the Historic Pagoda, this light show is not only a spectacle to behold, but also becomes interactive as it syncs with music being played. The event is free and held every night of Dec. as well as Jan. 1 from 5-10 p.m in Plaza Park, Oxnard.

Whether the holidays are spent making memories with family, growing friendships, or simply spreading good tidings, there is something for everyone to enjoy the season.

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