Christmas in the Park returns to downtown San José
Christmas in the Park returned to downtown San Jose on Friday after a year-long absence, and hundreds gathered to celebrate the long-standing holiday tradition.
Cesar Chavez’s Plaza was packed with people waiting for Santa Claus to flip the switch that lit up the 65-foot Christmas tree in the center of the park, which will host the exhibition’s 31st season until January 2. And while the number of crowds was large in 2019, many people were masked as they walked through the park, a reminder that we are still battling the COVID-19 pandemic.
Elias and Maggie Gonzales brought their daughters, Eleanor, 7, and Adeline, 3, to see the tree lighting and enjoy mugs of hot chocolate. While the San Jose family did the drive-thru version of Christmas in the park last year, they’ve weathered the pandemic on several occasions while watching a YouTube video they made of the two sisters exploring Christmas in the park in 2019. .
We can therefore say that they were rather motivated for his return. “The first thing I did was check if they were lighting the trees this year because we come every year,” said Maggie Gonzales. “It’s fun every year because it’s the same but different.”
Éléonore accepted. “It’s exciting to go here because you see new things every year like the big teddy bear,” she said, referring to an illuminated golden teddy bear courting at the north end of the park.
There are a few new displays this year, although everything looks a bit new after last year’s hiatus. Perhaps the most notable change is the new Christmas tree, sponsored by San Jose Clean Energy, which has a tunnel that people can walk through and see the light show synchronized with the music from inside. Another new addition, Blinky’s Tavern, was also doing a great deal on Friday night, offering beer and wine to the 21-and-over crowd. And, despite what I reported earlier this week, the price of beer and wine has dropped to $ 10. Perhaps President Biden has tapped into the country’s strategic reserve of beer to fight inflation.
Santa is back again for the kids to visit and take photos, although his throne is outside, another obvious change influenced by COVID. And for those who aren’t even comfortable with it, families can sign up for a Zoom tour with Santa on the Christmas in the Park website, www.christmasinthepark.com.
But Friday night’s tree-lighting ceremony also made it look like downtown San Jose would reopen for the holidays. Nearby restaurants like Scott’s Seafood, Mas Pizza, Original Joe’s, and Mosaic were packed, skaters were taking a tour of Kristi Yamaguchi’s Downtown Ice, and there was a vibrant atmosphere in the streets that downtown had been lacking for some time. .
Executive Director Jason Minsky said the downtown exhibit is at the heart of Christmas in the park. While last year’s drive-thru was a hit – and returned this year as Blinky’s Illuminated Holiday at Lake Cunningham Park – there was never a question of not returning to Cesar Chavez’s Plaza. . “Our organization is based downtown and I couldn’t be more excited to be back downtown,” Minsky said. “I know how much people love Christmas in the park. People want to go out and have a good time.
MORE SUPPORT FOR CALLE WILLOW: Business owners and residents of San Jose’s Calle Willow neighborhood can get their message across asking the city not to encourage large-scale development in the culturally rich neighborhood. The planning commission voted along with recommendations from city staff to remove Calle Willow from the policy framework that would allow for such development, and now a San Jose city council member is weighing in on the matter before council does. reviews November 30.
City Councilor Raul Peralez released a memo last Wednesday recommending that council approve the staff’s recommendation not to change the permitted uses in the neighborhood’s business district, while also asking City Manager Jennifer Maguire to change the designation. of land use in the area to discourage redevelopment that could displace Calle Willow businesses. Peralez said in the note that he met with many small business owners during the general four-year plan review process who were concerned about the potential changes.
CELEBRATE BOB KIEVE: San Jose lost one of its loudest voices when Empire Broadcasting President Bob Kieve passed away last May. Kieve, who owned radio stations KRTY and KLIV (plus KARA before that), would have turned 100 this month, and the community is invited to celebrate his life on December 3 at the California Theater in downtown San Jose.
It’s a suitable venue thanks to Kieve’s long service on the Symphony San Jose board of directors and perhaps the only place more suitable for a Sharks fan like Bob would have been SAP Center. Of course, the Harvard graduate had a lifetime before arriving in San José in 1967. He was Information Officer for the US Embassy in Madrid, was part of the Speechwriting Team from President Eisenhower and spent a decade learning the broadcast craft in Rochester, NY
The celebration begins at 5 p.m. and proof of vaccination will be required to enter. Guests are encouraged to mimic Bob’s iconic ties with a bow tie of their choice.
THE NEW HOME OF BIKE COALITION: The Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition is holding an open house on December 4 at its new offices at 155 S. 11th St., a former fraternity house near San Jose State University.
The informal meeting takes place from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., and there will be plenty of opportunities for people to learn about the Cycling Coalition’s work to bring safer cycling facilities to Silicon Valley. There will be refreshments throughout the event, with a brief program and bike-related raffles at 3pm.
The only thing that won’t be there is the parking lot. But there will be plenty of secure bicycle parking, and there is even a bike ride scheduled to arrive at the office right at the start of the event. Get more information and register to attend bikesiliconvalley.org.
WRITING : Frank Carbajal, founder of the Silicon Valley Latino Leadership Summit, is having a great Thanksgiving weekend. “Latinx Business Success,” the new book he co-wrote with José Morey, was the bestseller among economics books on Amazon.com. The book explores the success of Latinx business leaders through interviews and how to bridge the digital divide that has kept this community largely out of positions of power.