Holiday favorites are returning to downtown San Jose this year

If you’ve been to downtown San Jose recently, you may have noticed some construction that has nothing to do with the high-rise buildings being erected. Workers are busy putting together Christmas in the park’s festive exhibits and the ice rink for Kristi Yamaguchi’s Downtown Ice, two holiday favorites that open later this month.

And let me tell you, it’s a pleasure to have both returned after a break last year forced by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Lima train is one of the screens to be installed at the Plaza de Cesar Chavez for Christmas on the return of the park on November 26, 2021. (Sal Pizarro / Bay Area News Group)

Christmas in the park’s CEO, Jason Minsky, seems to be thrilled as Santa himself to bring the walk-thru event back to Plaza de Cesar Chavez. There will be new features for the “welcome back” year, including a 65-foot-tall Christmas tree that goes through, large lighted creations, including a teddy bear and a giant ornament, and an inflatable beer and vineyard called Blinky’s Tavern, after Christmas in the Park reindeer mascot.

Last year, the Christmas in the Park pandemic forced the shift to an evening drive-thru event in History Park filled with illuminated displays and trees that proved to be really popular (and perhaps at times too popular, based on hour-long road safety backups). It also comes back as Blinky’s Illuminated Holiday drive-thru, but with the location shifted to Lake Cunningham Park.

The light show, synchronized with holiday music, will take visitors to 12 themed areas with a holiday fair food festival at the end. A combination of fewer tickets sold and extra space in the park area should provide a better experience, and the musical soundtrack shifts on New Year’s Eve in the final week of the show.

Both events open Nov. 26 – Blinky’s lighted holiday at. 17:00 and Christmas in the park at 18.00 with wooden lighting. Learn more about both at

Meanwhile, Kristi Yamaguchi’s Downtown Ice will open to the public on Nov. 19 at the Circle of Palms outside the San Jose Museum of Art after being canceled last year due to the pandemic. This year, the outdoor ice rink will be open from kl. 10.00 to 21.30 until and including 17 December – the hours will be extended to kl. 23:00 the last two weeks of the year – but it will be divided into hour-long sessions that begin every 90 minutes.

Another big change for this year is that all tickets – $ 19 per session including skates – must be purchased online in advance. There will be no ticket sales on site to create a “touchless” experience. You can find more information at

Whatever the circumstances, however, it will be great to have both events back in the center this year.

VASONA TRADITION IS BACK: Tickets are on sale for Fantasy of Lights, the whimsical drive-thru experience at Vasona Lake County Park in Los Gatos, which kicks off a three-week run on December 7th. The popular walk-thru event – scheduled for December 4th and 5th – is also back after being canceled last year due to the pandemic. However, there is bad news and good news on that front: The bad news is that walk-thru tickets are already sold out; the good news is that more will be released on November 14 at noon.

It’s the 23rd year that the Santa Clara County Parks Department has hosted the animated light show that attracts visitors from across the Bay Area. Tickets are available at, and remember that they must be purchased in advance for a specific day and time.

YOU HAD ME ON “ELF”: 3Below Theaters in downtown San Jose is hosting a holiday open house on the 19th-20th. November to kick off the seasonal programming planned for both the movie house and the San Jose Playhouse, its live-action subsidiary. Vice President Shannon Guggenheim says it will also be an opportunity for people who live and work around the theater on Second and San Carlos Streets to get to know them a little better.

And what better way to invite new friends than with treats like hot chocolate, coffee and free entertainment? Entertainment on 19 November will include a string quartet performing holiday music on the terrace starting at 15 and a song after kl. 17.00. The activities on November 20 start at 11.00 and includes Santa’s musical toy soldier guard, a quartet of horns and percussion that will herald the arrival of Santa himself and Mrs. Claus at. 12.30. Inside the theater there will be some favorite holiday shorts. plays with Rudolph, Frosty the Snowman and the Grinch.

Over the next many weeks there will be a wide range of live entertainment set up on the terrace and classic holiday movies shown inside, including “great contributions” like “It’s a Wonderful Life”, “A Christmas Story” and “Elf” and some ” naughty “like” Scrooged “and” Office Christmas Party. ” See line-up at

MUSICAL HOLIDAY: After last year’s pent-up holidays, people seem to be in the mood early this year. KBAY-FM (94.5), which used to start a month of Christmas music on Thanksgiving, has already jumped on Santa’s bandwagon and has started playing the tunes of the season this week. The San Jose station has even renamed itself as “K-SLEIGH” for the season. After about eight weeks in a row listening to Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas is You” a few times a day, some Grinch types might be in the mood for the K-SLAY programmers.

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