Jacksonville’s Riverwalk Crossing Park was transformed into a winter wonderland for the City’s 8th annual Winterfest, Dec. 7.

Winterfest brought thousands of locals and visitors to the Jacksonville area for this weekend-long event which included ice skating and a snow machine to give kids a chance to play in the snow.

"We had over a thousand people sledding today. It is by far one of our more popular events," said Billy Johnson, event volunteer. "I figured it would be mostly kids, but I was surprised how many adults were eager to take a turn. Everyone looked like they were really having fun.”

Other activities included a petting zoo, reindeer games, hay rides, pony rides and a rock wall. Santa Claus made his way to Riverwalk Park and families were able to visit Santa’s workshop all afternoon.

"We never miss Winterfest," said Matthew Autry, the son of a retired U.S. Marine. "It is pretty cool seeing all the kids’ faces light up when Santa pulls up on a motorcycle. I do not think they were expecting that. Plus, we don’t get snow here very often so a lot of these kids have probably never seen snow. When I was younger the petting zoo was my favorite part, but they add more each year, so it’s still fun, even for teenagers."

For more information on upcoming events in Jacksonville, visit https://www.jacksonvillenc.gov.