Nationals Park’s new “enchanting” holiday experience

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Nationals Park’s new “enchanting” holiday experience

Visitors enter the park at the main entrance to Enchant Christmas D.C.. Thousands of people will come to Enchant throughout its run.

Visitors enter the park at the main entrance to Enchant Christmas D.C.. Thousands of people will come to Enchant throughout its run.

Visitors enter the park at the main entrance to Enchant Christmas D.C.. Thousands of people will come to Enchant throughout its run.

Visitors enter the park at the main entrance to Enchant Christmas D.C.. Thousands of people will come to Enchant throughout its run.

By Emily London

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Nationals Park doesn’t look like the home for a World Series-winning baseball team anymore: twinkling lights have replaced the thousands of screaming fans, an ice skating trail has taken over the field near home plate and a 150-foot tall tree now stands where the pitcher’s mound used to be. 

Just five days after the Washington Nationals’ World Series win Oct. 30, Nats Park began to transform into a winter wonderland. Over the course of 15 days, park employees put up over 3 million lights and set up over 80 stalls for vendors, creating a winter festival: “Enchant Christmas D.C.”

New to the city this season, Enchant Christmas D.C. is a holiday event that has a variety of activities, including a holiday market with local vendors, an ice-skating trail, a holiday light maze and more. The event has been popular, with tickets quickly selling out on weekends.

A reindeer statue lights up the night at Enchant. In the holiday maze, visitors have to find all nine reindeer in order to win a prize.

“It’s been very, very busy,” Director of Business Development Jordan Birch said. “We are looking at hosting over 3,000 guests over the course of the event.”

One of the main selling points of Enchant Christmas D.C. is the holiday maze, which is the largest holiday maze in the world. In the maze, visitors have to search for nine reindeer statues, scratching off a ticket that they receive at the entrance of each one. People who find all nine statues get a prize. 

When junior Emily Wu went to Enchant Christmas D.C. with her family, her favorite part was the ice skating, she said. The 10,000 square-foot ice skating trail covers a large portion of the field. Skaters —who can choose to bring their own skates or rent a pair at the park— glide under lit-up arches made of holly while holiday music plays over the speakers.

“The lights were all really pretty,” Wu said. “It was like skating through this tunnel of light, which was a pretty chill experience.”

Ice skaters glide through the ice skating trail at Enchant Christmas D.C..

The holiday market has over 60 vendors, with a mix of local businesses, food stands and non-profit organizations. Many of the people running the stands are the same workers who are there during baseball season, allowing hundreds of employees to continue working at the park even after the season ends. Enchant Christmas D.C. also employs multiple bands to play each night. 

“With our choice of vendors, we really wanted to give the community what it asked for,” Birch said. “It was a way of giving back.”

Enchant Christmas D.C. has brought a lot of holiday spirit to the people that go and work there, Jayla, an employee who goes by “Marshmallow” while in her elf costume, said.

“Kids have thought that I was a real elf and want to hug me every time,” she said. “It’s just a really happy vibe here.”

Enchant Christmas D.C. runs through December 29. Tickets are $19.99-$33.99 for adults, $16.99-$26.99 for teens ages 14-17 and $14.99-$24.99 for children ages 13 and under.