Winter wonderland blows in the Balearic Park of Costa Mesa


The snow arrived at the Costa Mesa Balearic Community Center early Saturday morning, not by the hand of Mother Nature, but thanks to the work and planning of real estate agent Valerie Torelli, who created her first Snow Land in 1989. and never looked back.

Torelli recalled seeing the town of Costa Mesa blowing snow into the park for an employee event in the late 1980s and being inspired to create her own neighborhood winter wonderland.

“I called the city and said I was going to pay for it, sponsor it and take it to the next level,” she said. “And we never missed a year until last year, when they didn’t let us do it.”

Sean Norris sprinkles snow on his daughter, Kayla, 6, as she runs during the annual Snow Land event.

(Kevin Chang / Staff Photographer)

Balearic Snow Land is one of many events sponsored by Torelli Realty throughout the year, as well as annual neighborhood garage sales, an Easter egg hunt, a 4th of July parade, and an internal pumpkin patch. , where customers can win a free water bottle during Halloween.

But for people who live in the Mesa Verde area of ​​Costa Mesa, Balearic Snow Land is a great opportunity to get out and meet, enjoy winter treats, and take photos with Santa Claus.

Kate Thomas, 10, trains a snow angel as her mother, Erica, left, takes a photo.

Kate Thomas, 10, trains a snow angel as her mother, Erica, left, takes a photo.

(Kevin Chang / Staff Photographer)

In years past, Saint Nick has arrived by fire engine and for several years has landed there by helicopter. On Saturday, as the pandemic persisted, Santa’s grand entrance included a convertible and a fire escort.

In addition to traversing nearly 50 tons of snow, the kids enjoyed a bouncy house, cookie decorations, pony rides, and a petting zoo. It’s not an elaborate party, Torelli said, just something meant to generate a little holiday spirit.

Valerie Torelli, founder of Torelli Realty, greets visitors as they line up for the annual Snow Land event.

Valerie Torelli, founder of Torelli Realty, greets visitors as they line up for the annual Snow Land event on Saturday at the Balearic Park in Costa Mesa.

(Kevin Chang / Staff Photographer)

“He doesn’t have to be tall,” she added. “It just has to come from the heart. “

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