By Len Ramirez

SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) – One of the Bay Area’s most popular holiday traditions will go on despite the COVID-19 pandemic, but this year’s Christmas in the Park in San Jose will be a very different experience.

“I think it’s going to blow people away, once they get there,” said Christmas in the Park Director Jason Minsky.

The event has moved from Downtown San Jose, to History Park on Senter Road.

It will also be a COVID-safe drive-through event.

“They’re probably expecting just a drive-through version of our animated displays and our Christmas trees. It’s just so much more than that,” Minsky told KPIX 5.

The animated displays, and the giant tree of lights will be back. But History Park’s 30 old-fashioned buildings will be lit up and festooned for the holidays, decorated trees will line the driving circuit, plus there will be light displays, tunnels and visitors will drive under the park’s 125 foot light tower for a quaint Christmas village vibe.

Christmas in the Park 2020 at San Jose History Park. (CBS)

Christmas in the Park 2020 at San Jose History Park. (CBS)

History Park is a replica of a turn of the 20th century downtown San Jose. It’s been mostly overlooked in the winter months, until now.

“I think this will be great exposure for us, realize we are here and do all these great events throughout the year,” said Bill Schroh, who manages History Park.

There will be one thing the old Christmas in the Park never had: a price of admission.

“We do have to move to a paid reservation model this year,” Minsky said.

Donations are down and what did make money for the event, food sales and carnival rides, are not allowed due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Ticket prices range from $10 to $20 per car, and there’s a buy-one-give one option to help needier families.

Despite the changes and challenges, Minsky said this tradition isn’t taking any time off.

“It’s a great opportunity to get out during the holidays,” he said

Christmas in the Park opens November 27, the day after Thanksgiving. It runs through January 3, 2021.

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