Downtown San Jose stays vivid for the vacations

Christmas in the Park may have moved from downtown this year, but Plaza de Cesar Chavez is brighter than ever thanks to the Light the Holiday Nights installation, which runs through January 3.

“There is no way we would be leaving downtown in the dark this season if we needed to be lifted up more than ever,” said the executive director of the San Jose Downtown Association Scott knees said. “We had to brighten the center of the city.”

The Plaza de Cesar Chavez in downtown San Jose will be illuminated from November 26, 2020 through January 3, 2021, including a 26-foot “tree of light”. (Sal Pizarro / Bay Area News Group)

Two other downtown traditions – Downtown Ice and the Winter Wonderland Carnival – were canceled this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, spurring the Downtown Association into action. Working with the city and the downtown real estate improvement district, the association hired multiple sponsors and owners of downtown real estate, including the First Tech Federal Credit Union, Jay Paul Co., Google, Sobrato, Swenson and Urban Catalyst.

The trees in Plaza de Cesar Chavez have been decorated with white lights and the walkways are illuminated by illuminated arches. The centerpiece is a 26-foot-high “tree” made of colored balls of light that are installed on the stage at the north end of the park. Of course, visitors are expected to wear masks and keep their distance from others.

Efforts also include lighting trees and buildings at 50 San Fernando St., Palm Circle, San Jose City Hall, and the under construction Miro development across the street. Video mapping projections are shown on the former Camera 12 building on Paseo de San Antonio and in the Basilica of St. Joseph. And “The Story of Holiday Arts” will fill the windows on 125 S. Market Street – across from Plaza de Cesar Chavez – with costumes from the production of San Jose, such as “The Nutcracker”, “A Christmas Carol” and “Hansel.” and Gretel “. ”

In addition, the downtown farmers market in San Pedro Square will be converted into an outdoor Christmas market on December 4th, 11th and 18th from 10am to 2pm. The vendors are selling jewelry, candles, lotions, Christmas cards, plants, and other gifts, and the moment stores in the San Pedro garage – Aulala Design, BlackSheepMade, SJMADE Shop, and The Source Zero – will also be open.

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SHOP LOCAL ART: chief Executive Officer Nancy Bavor and the staff at the San Jose Quilts and Textile Museum are excited about their latest project, a partnership with artists from the Bay Area Kristina Micotti, Ayca Kilicoglu and Josef the Funky Homosapien to create a limited series of tote bags. Working with BIPOC (Black, Indigenous or People of Color) artists on the project is part of the museum’s ongoing support for various artists and communities, which now includes a statement on diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility. The canvas bags are available from the museum’s online shop, which contains many other gifts, including museum goods, jewelry and accessories. Go to to check it out.

In the meantime, East Valley Artists – a San Jose group that has been around since 1957 – has their annual judged art exhibit and online sales through December 2nd. Many of the artists have taken the virtual nature of this year’s exhibition and created their own websites with links to “Participants” to view the galleries and buy Christmas gifts. Keen visitors may recognize one of the names of an artist from a non-artistic career – Margie Matthews, Former San Jose Councilor who paints landscapes in the Berryessa area. You can see her work with everyone else at

SARATOGA HELPS: We all know the pandemic has scarred resources for food banks and other organizations helping the hungry this season, so every little bit helps. The City of Saratoga is doing its part on December 4th by hosting a drive-through food drive at City Hall with donations to West Valley Community Services. You’re looking for canned foods like soups and stews, and canned vegetables and fruit, healthy snacks like granola bars, and rice, pasta in boxes, peanut butter, and bread. The ride runs from 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and the first 40 cars to make a donation will receive a gift from the city.

The cakes have it: A Thanksgiving tradition that has continued despite the pandemic is the Downtown Campbell Neighborhood Association’s annual apple and pumpkin pie giveaway. With the help of Campbell Company – Joe Escobar Diamonds, Geoffrey’s Diamonds, Scott Rees in the Sereno Group, The Vesper Lounge and
Yvonne Kendall On Tuesday, 58 cakes were bought at the state farm and given away to neighbors. “We offer these cakes to everyone in downtown Campbell to give back to our neighbors who support us year round,” he says Barry Shillman, President of the Neighborhood Association.

NONPROFITS SHIFT GEARS, NOT GOALS: Galas at home are all the rage this season, which means you can stay in your slippers and still support a good cause. HomeFirst Services switched its annual In From the Cold fundraiser on December 5th to a virtual event with speakers, an auction and probably some surprises. You can register at

The Valle Monte League also had to ditch plans for personal Christmas tree elegance this year, but the Santa Clara County-based Women’s Service Group remains committed to supporting mental health agencies in the valley with its virtual event, “Making Spirits Bright By December 31. President of the Valle Monte League Michelle Hammack hopes regular participants will consider donating to their online campaign what they would spend on the group’s annual series of holiday events. So far, $ 80,000 has been raised for a goal of $ 200,000. You can help at

And you may recall that Turning Wheels for Kids was stuck in a traffic jam for Giving Tuesday last year because the online fundraising platform couldn’t process $ 1 donations – which messed up the “Give a Buck for a Bike” tagline brings. Board member Elaine Elkin says they’re back this year with a slogan that will work: “Give five bucks a bike,” and it’s still a steal given the charitable plans to give 1,500 bikes to kids this year. Get these bikes moving at

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