San Jose's Christmas in the Park kicks off the holiday season

Christmas in the Park is one of San Jose’s longest running holiday traditions and the family fun event opened this weekend. Organizers say they’re expecting hundreds of thousands of people to attend between now and January.  

Most people have to go back to work and school on Monday, but that didn’t stop thousands of people from coming out to San Jose tonight to kick off the Christmas holiday season.   

For over 40 years, San Jose’s Christmas in the Park has been one of the most highly anticipated events in Silicon Valley.  

"When I was younger, it was crazy. It’s different now, so I’m just here to enjoy it with everybody and be with my family," said Gabriel Rodriguez, a San Jose native.    

All things Christmas can be found at Plaza de Cesar Chavez including over 40 holiday displays, carnival rides for children, a roller-skating rink, dozens of Christmas trees, and of course hot chocolate and other classic, festive foods from local vendors.  

"The last time I was here I was about 10 or 11. So it was really nice seeing it expand. Definitely a lot more people here too, and I got to bring my girlfriend over to experience it with me from Washington State," said Aaron Jussen, who grew up in San Jose.  

Christmas in the Park is a non-profit organization that runs the free event through sponsorships, donations, grants and programs. Community groups, local schools, and other non-profit groups volunteer to decorate the Christmas trees. People from all over the Bay Area come to see them.  

"Of course, all the schools have their trees. So, we came to look at all the festive trees but also, I’m from Richmond. All my best friends wanted to see San Jose, and so I thought this would be a really good place to take them because it’s so festive, and you know, part of San Jose life," said Randrea Acda, an assistant principal with Alpha Public Schools in San Jose.  

Santa Claus will be visiting there until Christmas Eve. Pictures with Santa are free, but you have to use your own camera to take them. Christmas in the Park is open every day from noon to 10pm including Christmas Day until Jan. 1. 

There’s also another part of the event at Lake Cunningham Park in San Jose where you can drive by to see festive holiday lights, but you will need to buy a ticket for that. 

Click this link for more information about Christmas in the Park.