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The Chief Elf Answers your Questions

The Chief Elf took some time from her very busy schedule this season to answer your most frequent questions. If you have any other questions, please don't hesitate to ask! Please note Pensacola Winterfest has an all-volunteer staff, so we may be at work and need some time to get back to you.

When is Pensacola Winterfest 2021?

Pensacola Winterfest events run on the following days in 2021: November 21, 26, 27, and 28; December 3, 4, 10, 17—19, 21—24.
We perform our free plaza show, and have visits with Santa and the Grinch each night of the event. Our new Polar Express will run every night of the event too, along with a new Grinch Tour and other Christmas fun we'll announce later this summer.

Photos with Santa are available on our new set that features ample space for a full family or large group photo. Please see the full details at SantaDowntown.com.

Our first performance is at 5:00pm Friday nights, and 4:30pm on Saturday and Sunday nights. We begin a new performance every 15 minutes until 8:00pm.

Santa's Sendoff with letters, songs, and the first gift of Christmas will happen at 8pm on December 24.

Please see our Calendar of Events for more info.

What types of vehicles run the tours?

Our fleet for 2021 includes the trolley Candycane and an open-air tram, Frosty plus a new trolley the Grinch just stole from Whoville! Your vehicle will vary depending on your selected tour. The Cajun Christmas Experience rides aboard our trolley while the Polar Express tour is on our open-air tram.

What's the difference between the tours?

The Polar Express tour begins with a musical show on the courthouse steps where tap-dancing servers will give everyone a cup of hot cocoa. The conductor of the Polar Express will lead everyone aboard an open-air tram to embark along a 20 minute journey to the Polar Express. During the ride, the conductor will read this classic story and you'll be delighted by more musical performances along the way.

The Cajun Christmas Experience is a brand new performance experience for Winterfest. Guests will watch an opening show on the courthouse steps before being boarded on a trolley with a delightful guide. Your guide will tell you stories of how they celebrate Christmas in the bayou as you take a short ride to the Historic Village. At the village, you will disembark the trolley to another performance featuring Papa Noel, the Cajun Santa Claus. From there you will be free to roam the village, visit the museum, play a scavenger hunt, or dance to a live jug band. Cajun treats will be available for purchase on site. There is no limit to how long you can stay at the village, but trolleys will pick up guests to ride back to the courthouse every 30 minutes, the final ride arriving at 9:00pm.

Can I just drive through the route to see the performances?

Alas, no. Since so much of the action takes place on the trolleys, your experience would be a little bit like watching your neighbor's television through the living room window. Also, following the trolleys can cause traffic and safety issues as our actors sometimes have to go into the street. If you have a larger group with a private bus, we are happy to arrange a guide and a place in the schedule for your group so you can get the full experience.

Is there food at Pensacola Winterfest?

Yes! We serve great hot chocolate, fresh popped popcorn, and yummy cookies at our Crazy Tree Cafe in the front of Christmas Plaza. Many excellent downtown restaurants are open throughout the season.

Who can I call if I need assistance?

Our customer service volunteers will be happy to assist you at 850 583-1365. We're not always in the office, but we'll do our best to get back to you quickly.

Can I buy tickets at the event?

The past several years, tours and photo times have sold out in advance, so reservations are strongly recommended to ensure a seat. If you have a large group, we recommend booking before Halloween to guarantee you get your preferred date and time.

When there are seats available, we do offer tickets for the next available performance every night of Pensacola Winterfest at dispatch, where the trolleys board.

Advance tickets are only available online. If you are unable to complete your purchase online, please give us a call at 850 583-1365. We'll be happy to help over the phone. No one at the courthouse building will be able to assist you during the day.

What do tickets cost?

Prices vary for our tours. Book before August 15 for a Summer of Santa discount! Please see our calendar for details. Kids 24 months and younger can ride for free in a parent's lap, and don't need a ticket.

What is the refund policy?

There are no refunds if you miss your tour, but we are happy to honor your ticket for another tour on the same evening as your reservation if seats are available.

How do you deliver my tickets?

Once your credit card is authorized, your tickets will be presented to you online and sent by email. If you reserve over the phone, we will email your tickets to you before we complete the call.

Our conductor boards the tours by name, so you don't need to have a physical ticket with you. You are welcome to print the electronic tickets we send you.

You can also have your tickets delivered by mail for a small fee. Postal delivery may take 3-5 days and is not always available.

What if I can't print my reservations? What if I lose them or forget to bring them?

Don't worry! We have your reservations on file, so it's not necessary to bring paper tickets with you to the tour.

Please note: no one at the courthouse building will be able to assist you with reservations during the day. If you need assistance any time Pensacola Winterfest is not performing, please call 850-583-1365 and our volunteers will be happy to help.

Will you mail my tickets to me?

Yes! Please select the "deliver by mail" option at checkout and your tickets will be mailed to you. Delivery may take 3-5 days. It is not necessary to bring your printed tickets with you to the event.

I have a large group and would like to book a private tour. How do I make arrangements?

Give us a call at 850-583-1365 and we'll be happy to arrange your tour.

Are the tours accessible for the disabled?

We offer tours with ASL interpretation and tours with lifts for mobility devices on request. Tours with these services available are marked in the ticketing process when you select a time and vehicle. Please text or call 850-583-1365 for additional information or if you have other accommodation needs.

If you would like to receive a script in advance to improve your ability to understand and enjoy our tour, please contact us.

 

Where is Winterfest?

Winterfest is based at the plazas around the Old County Courthouse at the corner of Palafox and Government Streets in Downtown Pensacola. You can use the address 223 S Palafox Place, 32502 for your GPS or maps app. Take a look at our map for directions.

From Southwest Pensacola or NAS

Take Garden Street to Palafox Place, turn right. Winterfest is three blocks down on your right.

From Nine Mile Road and Pine Forest

Take I-110 south to the Garden Street exit. Turn left at Palafox Place. Winterfest is three blocks down on your right.

From Gulf Breeze

Take Gregory Street to Palafox Street. Turn left onto Palafox, Winterfest is five blocks down on your right.

Where can I park?

There are several public lots nearby and plenty of free on-street parking. The Old Courthouse Parking Garage at 25 W Intendencia Street is right next door, and pensacolaparking.com has detailed maps of available downtown parking.

Is there parking for the disabled?

Accessible parking is available in the on-site parking garage at 25 W Intendencia Street. The Winterfest plazas can be accessed directly through an arcade on the first floor of the garage adjacent to the handicapped parking spots.

How long are the tours?

The Polar Express and Grinch tours run about 25 minutes from opening show to arriving back at the courthouse. The Cajun Christmas Experience does not have a time limit but plan to spend at least 35-45 minutes in the show.

Are there restrooms at the event?

Restrooms are available on site, and at many of the businesses along Palafox Place. Ask any elf for directions. Restrooms are available to guests of our Cajun Christmas Experience in the museum of Industry.

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