For the first time in 41 years, night owls can no longer stroll through the imaginative Christmas shows in the park in downtown San Jose. But the annual tradition does not disappear, it turns into a drive-through event in the extensive history park.
“Not having Christmas in the park for a year wasn’t an option,” he said Jason Minsky, Executive director of the nonprofit that produces the six-week event, which is scheduled to begin the Friday after Thanksgiving and run through January 3, 2021.
Safety concerns over the coronavirus pandemic and the possibility of crowds the size of Christmas in the park may not be allowed, forced the nonprofit to come up with an alternative plan and venue. The walkways in Plaza de Cesar Chavez, the traditional home of the display since 1980, are too narrow to allow adequate physical distancing, and the park’s six entrances would require crowds to be restricted, likely resulting in unsafe crowds.
With the blessing of the city and the collaboration of History San Jose, a plan was drawn up to relocate the displays to the historical open air museum on the corner of Phelan Avenue and Senter Road. The renderings show the buildings of History Park adorned with Christmas decorations and the replica of the San Jose Light Tower in the park, which is illuminated in Christmas colors. The hundreds of trees that have been adorned by community schools, nonprofits, and businesses will also dot the area of the park.
There will be some serious adjustments, however. Since Christmas in the park gets a good chunk of its revenue from vendor sales, which are not available in History Park as people sit in cars, an entrance fee is charged for the first time. One day a week – Monday is included in the current plan – is free and cheaper during the day than at night. Reservations for specific days and times are required to keep queues to a minimum, similar to the system used for viewing Fantasy of Lights at Vasona Lake County Park.
“We want to do everything we can to minimize the impact on Phelan Avenue residents in terms of traffic and noise,” Minsky said, adding that transportation routes, entrance fees and other details are still being worked out.
In addition to sellers’ revenue, Minsky said sponsorship dollars have declined, a similar story to other nonprofits that have watched business donors tighten their philanthropy or focus on COVID-19 relief efforts. So much will depend on the success of the annual fundraiser for Christmas in July, which this year will be a virtual event.
“Attendees” can purchase a ticket and receive a gift box of Christmas gifts, including a bottle of Joseph George Fine Wines wine, a meal from Cafe Stritch, and the 2020 Christmas Ornaments in the park. A children’s version includes a craft activity, a snow toy, 3D glasses and a Christmas mug in the park. Teenagers get a bottle of cider. Tickets start at $ 100 for adults, with discounts for children and groups.
A live variety show will be broadcast on CreaTV on July 18 and streamed on YouTube from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. It features local artists, including winners of a “San Jose’s Got Talent” competition. Details on how to participate in the competition and how to buy tickets for Christmas in July can be found at www.christmasinthepark.com/events/2020/cij.
Call to all artists: The Leigh Weimers Emerging Artists Awards program is now accepting applications from artists who are based in Santa Clara County and who have not received widespread recognition in their chosen medium of visual arts, performance, film, music, or even technical arts such as lighting.
Four artists are selected to receive an unconditional $ 5,000 grant in honor of Leigh Weimers, my predecessor in the field who campaigned for local art for 40 years in his column. (Full disclosure: I chair the Rotary Club of San Jose committee that administers the program, but I’m not part of the selection process.)
Applications are accepted until June 30th. More information is available at www.weimersawards.com.
SHARKS ‘VOICE ENDED: Play-by-play announcer from San Jose Sharks Randy Hahn will be back in action on Sunday – commentary for a rubber duck race. No, the absence of the Haie in the NHL playoff tournament schedules didn’t drive Hahn around the corner. This Duck Race is a fundraiser for Pivotal, the San Jose-based nonprofit that resulted from the merger of Silicon Valley Children’s Fund and TeenForce in 2018.
The Pivotal Ducky Derby will feature 200 of the bright yellow guys running 25 yards in a swimming pool, and of course, all of the action will be broadcast live on May 31st at 4pm. The event has already raised $ 20,000 to raise funds for coaching and college scholarships to graduate foster youth, but there is still time to attend and donate. Just go to www.pivotalnow.org.
SCOTT OPENS IN THE NEW HOME: Scott’s Seafood opened its new location on the first floor of the Twohy building on Paseo de San Antonio on Friday with the weirdest ribbon cut I’ve seen in a while. All VIPs – including Owner Steve Mayer, Chef Sammy Reyes, and Mayor Sam Liccardo – wore masks, and the extra-long ribbon was held in a V-shape to create more physical distance while also allowing for a photo.
Scott’s is currently only open for takeout and delivery, but the interior of the restaurant looks amazing. So there will be a boost when the guests can use the room – or at least laze on the paseo terrace.