Organizers of the San Jose holiday tradition are making plans for a return to normalcy this year while keeping around some pandemic favorites.
It's not even officially summer, but the countdown to San Jose's "Christmas in the Park" is already on.
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"We're here 365 days a year," Christmas in the Park Executive Director Jason Minsky said about their San Jose warehouse. "It's where we store all of our displays. In addition, it's where we construct, renovate and come up with new ideas to offer our guests every year."
We got a first look at some of their new holiday magic including the renovated Candy Cane Shipping Depot.
The Candy Cane Depot will also be all new this year at the walkthrough event back at Plaza de Cesar Chavez. A lot of the displays will get tuned up for the season. I was the first one to hit the all new button that starts the show and releases a peppermint smell! @xmasintheparksj pic.twitter.com/0ysscdy1hl— Dustin Dorsey (@DustinABC7) June 9, 2021
"It's the first project that our new team has worked on together," Minsky said. "When you push this button, all this activates. We've added new lighting, new animatronics, a soundtrack and even smellevision."
But that's not the only new thing this year.
In just a few months' time, everything in this warehouse will be on display at two locations, brand new for 2021.
That includes both the walkthrough and the drive-thru.
I got to check out the @xmasintheparksj official warehouse today to see what work is done to create one of the greatest Christmas displays around. The crew is on hand 365 days a year to make sure everything is ready for their walkthrough and drive-thru events in San Jose! pic.twitter.com/e1s8g1Ti5A— Dustin Dorsey (@DustinABC7) June 9, 2021
Shhh. Don't show anyone! But here is the official rendering of @xmasintheparksj's 2021 drive-thru at Lake Cunningham Park. It will be all-new this year with music, lights and more all created by Christmas display master J.R. Mattos. I cannot wait to see this live! pic.twitter.com/NdsHcRYkgn— Dustin Dorsey (@DustinABC7) June 9, 2021
A pandemic pivot, the drive thru was so popular that organizers are keeping it around with a few tweaks.
"We're going to be at Lake Cunningham Park this year," Minsky said. "Brand new music, brand new lights. The walkthrough, I'm even more excited about. We are adding a 65-foot-tall walkthrough Christmas tree and we're putting in a 40-foot by 60-foot inflatable beer and wine garden. We're just excited about everything we're going to be offering for both our drive-thru and walkthrough events this year."
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"New" isn't usually what you think of, when talking about a 40-year-old tradition.
But, organizers wanted to create something special for guests to enjoy post-pandemic.
"People loved the walkthrough, we got people that said they loved the drive-thru even more," Minsky said. "So, we're just really excited to offer both this year."
The Christmas magic will return to Plaza de Cesar Chavez and Lake Cunningham Park in San Jose this Thanksgiving.
To learn about Christmas in the Park's key fundraiser, "Christmas in July", click here to visit their website.
Christmas in the Park is all based on donations and with two displays this year, your donations are more important than ever. @xmasintheparksj Exec. Director Jason Minsky says "Christmas in July" is a great way to give to the park and have a fun time doing it. Check it out! pic.twitter.com/PIhzKfzPdg— Dustin Dorsey (@DustinABC7) June 9, 2021