Enjoy this amazing display with the entire family!
Running through January 1st, San Jose's Christmas in the Park is a delight for the entire family. At Anderson Behel, many of us have visited this amazing display and that's why we're delighted to share this blog with you.
It doesn’t matter if you are human or elf, young or old, reindeer or polar bear, Christmas in the Park brings together a diverse community each holiday season with its magical displays and lively entertainment. For over 35 years, Christmas in the Park has brought over 600,000 visitors each holiday season to Downtown San José. But how did this tradition start? It simply started with a man who had a passion for the holidays and his community. He didn’t set out to make a tradition for the purpose of having his name echo in the history books, but to bring together a diverse, growing community.
The tradition began back in the 1950s with a single Nativity display built by family man Don Lima. Don Lima owned Lima Family Mortuary in Willow Glen and decided to bring some holiday spirit to the community by borrowing $300 (Due to inflation, $300 in the 1950’s is equivalent to almost $2,800 today!) to build the first ever holiday display in San José.
Lima noticed the enthusiasm surrounding his display that sat on his lawn each year so he began adding more complex displays year after year. “There were very few displays at that time… and the following year… because of the enthusiasm of the neighborhood and families around we decided to make it a little bigger,” said Lima.
As the display grew, so did the crowds. People would park blocks away just to walk to the display and gaze in amazement. There was bumper-to-bumper traffic on the main street because cars drove by, slowly, just to catch a glimpse of the holiday spirit Lima so proudly showcased on his lawn.
Eventually the display got so big that Lima decided to donate it to the City of San José in the 1970s. He wanted to donate it to a place where people felt like it was theirs; as if they were a part of it. The displays were set-up on the lawn of San José’s original City Hall on First and Mission Street. The displays were getting bigger and more complex that in the early 1980s, Lima gathered a group of community leaders and requested that the City move the displays to the Plaza de Cesar Chavez.
While at the Plaza de Cesar Chavez, Christmas in the Park grew into more than just a city-wide event. Visitors from all around the Bay Area travel to Downtown San José at least once a year to take in the holiday spirit. Now there are over 40 displays, food vendors, Downtown Ice and the Winter Wonderland events. Visitors are even able to experience snow as it falls in certain areas of the park.
Source: City of SJ website and www.christmasinthepark.com