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Winterfest 2023

Riverside Theatre’s Holiday Festival returns as Winterfest 2023 featuring performances of Finding Nemo Jr. 

(Vero Beach, FL) Riverside Theatre, led by Producing Artistic Director/CEO Allen D. Cornell and Managing Director/COO Jon R. Moses, announces the return of one of Vero Beach’s longest running holiday festivals, the Festival of Trees, now renamed Winterfest. Winterfest, the major fundraiser for Riverside’s education department, takes place on the Riverside Theatre campus from December 1-3, 2023 and features fun activities for the whole family with performances by Riverside’s education students and children from various area organizations. A Preview Festival Gala will be held on Thursday evening, November 30th starting at 6pm.

For over 40 years Riverside Theatre’s education program has successfully nurtured the acting, singing and dancing talents of Vero Beach’s youth through its performing arts programs taught by accomplished professionals. 

Looking for a new fundraising initiative to support its educational endeavors, in 1998 Linda Downey, education director at the time, with a group of dedicated parents came up with a holiday themed event that would transform the Agnes Wahlstrom Youth Playhouse and the Anne Morton Theatre into a winter wonderland with festively decorated Christmas trees, wreaths and gingerbread houses. 

The first Festival of Trees was held that year and became an instant success becoming Vero Beach’s kickoff to the holiday season. As the years passed, the festival continued to grow and more of the Riverside Theatre campus was utilized including an outdoor “ice” skating rink. 

Renamed Winterfest, the formerly known Festival of Trees, will not only include decorated trees, wreaths, holiday centerpieces, a Santa’s Village, and a weekend full of activities and performances, it will also aid local organizations focused on children as part of the Theatre’s new Community Engagement Program. 

While children will delight in Winterfest’s offerings, adults can enjoy uproarious comedy with Jim Holder and Ozrick Cooley at the Comedy Zone on Friday and Saturday evening. The Live in the Loop stage will also feature local bands Rocket City on Friday and the Johnny Nicks Band on Saturday nights. 

Along with performances of Finding Nemo Jr. by our education students, attendees will delight in performances by students of The Gifford Youth Orchestra, Boys & Girls Club, Music Angels, Citrus Singers, Youth Guidance, the Homeschool Troupe, and a special presentation of The Lion King, Jr. by students of the Gifford Youth Achievement Center. 

Festival hours:


Comedy Zone:

Winterfest takes place December 1-3, 2023. To purchase tickets or for more information, call the Box Office at 772-231-6990 or go one line to

Winterfest presenting sponsor: Vero Beach Outlets. Additional sponsors include: Cleveland Clinic Indian River Hospital, George E. Warren LLC, Dr. & Mrs. Paul Minotty, Florida Power & Light, Jim & Jean Ueltschi, Au Pair in America, and Premier Plastic Surgery & Aesthetics – John Michael Sarback MD.   

Riverside Theatre is located at 3250 Riverside Park Drive, Vero Beach, FL 32963. Riverside Theatre programs are sponsored in part by the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs and the Florida Arts Council, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Riverside Theatre is a member of the Cultural Council of Indian River County, the Indian River Chamber of Commerce, and the Sebastian River Area Chamber of Commerce. 

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