San Jose lights up downtown to give message of hope on Thanksgiving

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- Strolling through Plaza de Cesar Chavez, it almost felt like any other holiday season.

On Thanksgiving evening, the San Jose Downtown Association flipped the switch on a light display -- illuminative trees, glowing arches and a Christmas tree as a centerpiece shone bright for all to see.

RELATED: Oakland Zoo's Glowfari lights up the nights this holiday season

With the pandemic shutting down the skating rink and moving the annual Christmas at the Park to a drive-thru location, the display is the only thing left to give the downtown area a festive feel.

"There was just no way we were going to leave the heart of the city dark, especially during this time when everybody needs to be uplifted," said Scott Knies, executive director of the San Jose Downtown Association.

The Lozano family took a stroll down for pictures. It's part of their Thanksgiving tradition to visit the park for hot chocolate and rides. This year, they were just trying to feel a little normal.

RELATED: Golden Gate Park to transform into winter wonderland light exhibit for 150th anniversary

"It feels like there's still a sense of joy, there's still a season to remember that this time of year is very celebratory," said Melissa Nievera Lozano, who brought her two young sons.

That's exactly what Knies was hoping for -- a festive destination that's safe for families to visit during the pandemic.

"Just a little bit of normalcy, that despite everything that we're going through, this is a really important holiday season for all of us to remember how much we need each other."

Light the Holiday Nights runs from Nov. 26-Jan. 3, free of charge.

VIDEO: Downtown San Jose's holiday makeover
EMBED More News Videos

"There was just no way we were going to leave the heart of the city dark, especially during this time when everybody needs to be uplifted."



Go here for the latest stories and videos about the holidays.
Copyright © 2021 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.