It may be warm now, but the holidays are coming and Visit Topeka wants Top City to have a good time in all sorts of weather.

The inaugural Topeka WinterFest, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3 on S. Kansas Avenue in Downtown Topeka, will bring a holiday market flare to city sidewalks. 

Featuring live reindeer and a sleigh, horse-drawn carriage rides along the avenue ($1 per person), carolers, and everyone from the Sugar Plum Fairy to Scrooge and Tiny Tim, WinterFest should warm the spirit and be a holiday memory-maker for all who partake.

“An idea shared with us of a German market inspired this. We haven’t done anything like this in Downtown Topeka,” said Rosa Cavazos, director of tourism development at Visit Topeka. “We can have fun when it’s cold!”

Ice sculptures and photo cut-outs representing the 12 Days of Christmas will line the avenue. Gingerbread house-making, sponsored by Topeka Performing Arts Center, and sweet deals at downtown shops will add to the fun. Hazel Hill will offer 10 percent off all packaged gifts in the shop. Lupita’s Mexican Restaurant will offer a breakfast of tamales, pan dulce and Mexican hot chocolate. Vendors and a few food trucks will be positioned along the avenue as well, but no streets will be closed for the event.

Visit Topeka’s WinterFest ties together several holiday events happening the first week of December:

  • December 1-4 – Festival of Trees at Kansas Expocentre to benefit SLI
  • December 2-4 -- Topeka Civic Theatre’s “It’s a Wonderful Life”
  • December 2 & 3 – Holiday Happenings at Old Prairie Town (also Dec. 9 and 10)
  • December 3 – A Classic Rock Christmas at Topeka Performing Arts Center
  • December 3 – Old Fashioned Craft Fair and Bake Sale at Crestview Community Center
  • December 4 – Santa Arrives on UP at Great Overland Station
  • Also viewable throughout the week and beyond will be the perennial favorite lights displays in the Potwin neighborhood and the Winter Wonderland benefit for TARC at Lake Shawnee.

Cavazos said families, couples and friends can create a special memory with the reindeer by having a $5 portrait taken.

She added: “We may need to bundle up, but we’ll have a blast.”

As Topeka's official destination marketing organization, Visit Topeka is dedicated to marketing the region as an exceptional destination for meetings, events, sports and leisure tourism, thereby enhancing the local economy. Visit Topeka is a 501(c)6 not-for-profit organization. Find more information at