Family fun, festive lights and fireworks bring thousands to NYE celebration at California's Great America

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (KGO) -- Thousands braved Tuesday night's cold weather to count down at California's Great America.

The theme park was decked out for New Year's Eve, as part of its Winterfest celebration.

The celebration included twinkling lights, twirling rides, and 11 minutes of pyrotechnics at 9 p.m. to match the East Coast countdown.

In total, 3,500 bright, booming fireworks lit up the night sky. Park officials said this year brought a display bigger than the year before.

This is the second year the theme park has celebrated New Year's Eve.

People stopped to share their favorite firework.

In a group of siblings, one shouted out, "The ones where it goes like a waterfall."

"The ones that kind of rain down," another said.

San Mateo resident Zachary Briggs told ABC7 News, "The ones that pop over and over again to make a bigger one."

Marta Gomez said, without a doubt, "The last blast is always the best!"

RELATED: Happy New Year! Countries around the world welcome 2020

Good news, California's Great America delivered.

The midnight crowd will celebrate under a confetti countdown.

The park even brought snow to the South Bay, leaving the smallest visitors with lasting memories.

"It just brings a lot of joy to people," Juliana Jimenez explained.

The decorations and fireworks display definitely brought joy across all ages.

For some, being at the park brought them back in time.

"My father helped build this place," Marta Gomez explained. "My little brother did a lot of the landscaping, and now my granddaughter is working here."

Jill Briggs said, "It's just a really nice amusement park. My husband and I have been coming to for 40 years, plus."

On New Year's Eve, there was also a sense of hope for what the future may hold.

"Spending more time with my family," Julissa Jimenez shared.

"Making new friends and just experiencing life," Nichelle Caramanoff told ABC7 News.

Zachary Briggs said, "I'm graduating my elementary school this year. So, I'm excited for that."

Everyone we met was ready to end the 2019 with a bang!

The party wraps up at 12:30 a.m.

Then California's Great America closes for the season. Guests will have to wait until March 2020 to visit.
Copyright © 2021 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.