San Jose Christmas in the Park doubles down on holiday spirit

After a year of COVID-19 pandemic disruptions, Christmas in the Park has returned to downtown San Jose with a double dose of a beloved local holiday tradition.
After a year of COVID-19 pandemic disruptions, Christmas in the Park has returned to downtown San Jose with a double dose of a beloved local holiday tradition. Photo credit Keith Menconi/KCBS Radio

After a year of COVID-19 pandemic disruptions, Christmas in the Park has returned to downtown San Jose with a double dose of a beloved local holiday tradition.

The tree-lighting ceremony, which kicks off the weeks-long event, was scheduled for 5:30 p.m. at Plaza de César Chávez on Friday. Last year’s popular light display – Blinky’s Illuminated Holiday –  stuck around, too.

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For the sake of COVID-19 safety, the event moved locations and became a drive-thru lights show last year. When all was said and done, organizers wanted to know what attendees thought.

"People loved them both, and so much so people said, 'You gotta keep doing it,' " Jason Minsky, Christmas in the Park's executive director, told KCBS Radio.

To give the people what they wanted, Minsky doubled his staff in order to bring back both in 2022.

Minsky said this year’s drive-through light displays are all brand new, while the downtown portion has some new additions as well. There’s now a 65-foot Christmas tree, as well as a beer and wine garden after officials had "always wanted to" sell alcohol in the park.

To give the people what they wanted, Minsky doubled his staff in order to bring back the drive-thru and walk-through events in 2022.
To give the people what they wanted, Minsky doubled his staff in order to bring back the drive-thru and walk-through events in 2022. Photo credit Keith Menconi/KCBS Radio

"It'll have a light show that accompanies it going on at the 50-minute mark of every hour," Minsky said of the Christmas tree. "And it's so big, it actually has a tunnel that you could walk through."

Drive-thru tickets can be purchased here. Christmas in the Park is open every day, including Christmas Eve and Christmas, from noon until midnight between now and January 2.