Guests to Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark from late November through Jan. 1 are transported to a winter wonderland with snow tubing featured as the main event. Rather than hearing the crack of a bat and cheers of the crowd while watching America's pastime in the summer heat, guests during LifeShare WinterFest hear the crunch of snow underfoot with hands wrapped in cotton rather than leather baseball gloves and heads covered in stocking caps rather than baseball caps.
Starting Saturday, Dec. 16, LifeShare WinterFest is open every day through Jan. 1, with the exception of being closed on Christmas. Three snow tubing sessions are available per day at noon, 2 p.m. and 4 p.m., with each session lasting 120 minutes. Tickets cost $13 for riders and $3 for non-rider general admission per session. Guests are encouraged to purchase their tickets in advance as sessions do sell out.
Klontz and his family from Edmond have made visits to LifeShare WinterFest part of their annual holiday tradition and have watched the event grow and expand over the years. Approximately 20,000 guests visit the ballpark during public sessions of snow tubing each winter.
"It's a lot more festive atmosphere with the music playing and the lights and everything," Kristin Klontz said. "It's very beautiful."
Walks along the concourse are surrounded by about 25,000 feet of holiday lights, dozens of shimmering evergreen trees, hundreds of wrapped packages, a life-sized sleigh, a kid-sized train, Santa's Workshop, festive music and concessions that offer a taste of the season.
"LifeShare WinterFest allows us to dress up Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark for the holidays and bring some winter fun to a location many identify with the warm summer months," said Michael Byrnes, Oklahoma City Dodgers President/General Manager. "The citizens of Oklahoma City invested in this wonderful ballpark and we are committed to hosting appealing and diverse events throughout the year that add to the quality of life for our fellow area residents."
The top platform of the man-made slopes is abuzz with activity as guests ready their snow tubes for a ride that takes them from the ballpark's upper deck, down a 145-foot snow-lined journey that ends where second base would normally occupy the playing field.
The main slide is comprised of three lanes and riders must be at least 42 inches tall. A small slide, accessible from the concourse level and open to all, is 75 feet in length. No lap riders are allowed on either slide and each rider must sign a waiver form.
Riders sail down the slopes approximately every 15 seconds per lane and keep the slopes peppered with blue and red tubes throughout the event.
Nahima Aguirre, 9, chose to go down the slide facing forward, then backward and even tried spinning her tube to the bottom during her five times down the slope on a recent afternoon.
"My favorite part is at first you are kind of scared but after you keep doing it, it gets funner and funner every time," she said.
Her family experienced LifeShare WinterFest for the first time this year.
"I think it was really fun," Ivan Aguirre, from Oklahoma City, said. "It's definitely family oriented. You can come down here and have lots of fun with your family."
In addition to snow tubing, LifeShare WinterFest offers numerous other fun options on level ground.
Festive photo locations line the concourse. Santa's Workshop is filled with games, crafts and fun activities for the whole family. Free train rides are available for children. Traditional and holiday themed concessions and beverages are available for purchase. Hot chocolate is a favorite choice for a quick warm-up and almost 82,500 ounces are served during LifeShare WinterFest each winter.
Even the snow itself is an attraction at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark. Regardless of if snow has fallen from the sky, snow is available daily at the ballpark during LifeShare WinterFest as employees create about 1.3 million pounds of snow throughout the duration of the event.
Jason Klontz is from Colorado and is used to seeing lots of snow in the winter months. His first glimpse of snow in Oklahoma this season came during LifeShare WinterFest.
"It gives me something that reminds me of back home," he said.