Dec 1, 2023

It's Winterfest Time!

Meet all kinds of silly, wacky characters aboard the BAH HUMBUS during The Grinch Tour trolley ride.

If Santa Claus has a favorite helper in Pensacola, it certainly must be Kismet Dunkerley.

The public relations manager of Winterfest, Pensacola’s annual holiday extravaganza that stretches across weeks, percolates contagious happiness and holiday spirit.

“One of the best jobs I worked at is Winterfest and being one of Santa’s elves,” said Dunkerley, who, like Santa Claus, believes there is nothing so beautiful as a happy child.

“We got to make magical moments for so many kids by telling them all about the North Pole, our favorite reindeer games, and getting to introduce them to Santa,” she cheerfully shared.

“Thanks to Christmas magic, Santa knows every kid’s name, and seeing their faces light up when Santa looks at them and says, ‘Timmy, look how big you’ve gotten!’ is the best part. This job is definitely my favorite way to give back to a community I love so much.”

Cheer or chains? On The Scrooge Tour, prepare for scary ghost stories as you take part in the classic tale “A Christmas Carol.”  RIGHT: Ho, ho, ho! Yes, everyone — even your f

And absolutely nothing gets Dunkerley gushing holiday spirit faster than Winterfest.

“I have lived in Pensacola my whole life, and some of my favorite Christmas memories as a kid are taking the Winterfest tours with my family,” said Dunkerley, who also writes, casts and directs most of the Winterfest tours.

“I remember begging my parents to go multiple times, but the tickets were too expensive because the tours were an hour long,” she said. “It’s so wonderful that we’re now offering 20-minute tours at a much cheaper price.”

Dunkerley said the most popular tour is “Merry Match,” which debuted in 2021.

“It’s so beloved and sells out so fast that this year we’re adding a new tour called ‘Christmas Caper’ where guests can tour a certain Seussian town with our favorite Whos like Cindy as well as a few other characters.”

And watch out for the green, pot-bellied, snub-nosed character with a cat-like face, the GRINCH!

“A mean old Grinch is on a Christmas decoration stealing bender, but I’m sure he won’t disrupt the tour,” Dunkerley said.

“Winterfest’s mission is to bring the magic of Christmas to Pensacola and to remind everyone that Christmas is about spending time with loved ones, making magical memories that will last a lifetime, and, of course, peace on Earth and goodwill towards men,” Winterfest’s stoked spokeswoman said.

Dunkerley hopes Winterfest attendees will “honor Christmas in their hearts and try to keep it all year.”

Happy Winterfest!

Winterfest 2023

Where: Downtown Pensacola

When: Winterfest started in mid-November with events continuing December 1, 2, 8, 10, 15-17, 19-24.

Cost: Winterfest offers many free and ticketed events/shows.

Details: To check out the fun offerings, visit the website — — where you can see schedules and prices, etc.

Even your four-legged, furry family members — can get a photo taken with Santa Claus on his sleigh at Winterfest.