Home > About Us > Press


Recent press releases are below, however if you need further information, please email our executive director Rusty Weekes at to set up an interview.

Santa Claus has a new boss in San Jose

Christmas in the Park board chair Stacey Holden, left, poses with Rusty Weekes, the nonprofit’s new executive director at the Christmas in July fundraiser on Saturday, July 23, 2022. (Sal Pizarro/Bay Area News Group) 
By | | Bay Area News Group

Christmas in the Park introduces Rusty Weekes as its new executive director

Christmas in the Park introduced Rusty Weekes as its new executive director last weekend, and it’s worth noting he does bear a passing resemblance to a clean-shaven Santa Claus.

He arrives, however, not from the North Pole but from Santa Clara University, where he was an associate athletic director and executive director of the Bronco Bench Foundation, helping raise more than $30 million in 11 years. In other words, the fundraising force is strong with this one, which should be very good news for San Jose’s beloved holiday display.

Stacey Holden, chair of Christmas in the Park’s board, invited Weekes to meet the nonprofit’s supporters at the annual Christmas in July fundraiser at History Park on Saturday. Weekes had no problem pumping up the crowd, drawing on his years as a football coach for Santa Clara University in the 1970s. He recalled handing a football to a young boy after one game and learning years later that the boy — then a teenager — had never forgotten the moment and still had the ball.

“As I prepared to take this role, it was staggering for me to realize we’re in the business of creating moments,” said Weekes, who said he stayed up into the wee hours of the night coming up with ideas after he was offered the job. “We don’t know that someone is going to propose at Christmas in the Park, or there’s going to be some family that can’t do anything else and this is their Christmas. That’s the ‘why’ of this.”

Weekes’ predecessor, Jason Minsky, was also at the event and was recognized for his decade in the role. Bert George of Joseph George Fine Wines also was honored for his longtime service to the organization, which on Saturday included — as it often does for many nonprofits — providing wine and other drinks for the festive crowd.

In the coming months, we’ll see what Weekes cooks up for Christmas in the Park — both for the traditional downtown event at Plaza de Cesar Chavez and the newer drive-thru show at Lake Cunningham Park. Keep an eye on for details.

2021 Press Release

Christmas in the Park Expands, Community Benefits

The tradition returns to downtown San Jose and new drive-thru at Lake Cunningham Park

Last year, the annual tradition of Christmas in the Park (CITP) was temporarily replaced with a COVID safe drive-thru. This year guests get the best of both holiday worlds. The free traditional event returns to downtown San Jose and a new drive-thru is at Lake Cunningham Park.

“Last year we were able to produce an amazing drive-thru during a very trying time. We had a little more financial success than planned with the drive-thru. Guests will see some incredible new features at our downtown Plaza de Cesar Chavez Park free event. We have a new 65’ tall walk-through Christmas tree, new large scale lighted creations like a teddy bear, shooting star and giant ornament, plus an all-new inflatable beer and wine garden,” said executive director, Jason Minsky.

For the drive through there are 12 themed areas, and an all-new soundtrack changes on New Year’s for an entirely new adventure. Based on feedback from last year, a food festival has been added to the end of the drive-thru. Minsky added that fewer tickets per hour are available to eliminate long wait times. A VIP ticket allows guests to skip right to the front of the line.

Everything Opens November 26

Christmas in the Park is a non-profit organization that has held a free community event in downtown San Jose since 1980. On November 26th the opening night tree lighting starts at 6:00pm. An hour earlier (5:00pm) at Lake Cunningham Park, ticketed guests arrive for opening night at Blinky’s Illuminated Holiday drive-thru. Tickets for the drive-thru are already on sale. Last year’s event sold out, and with fewer tickets available this year, Minsky expects a quick sell-out.

“We are making a big splash and want everyone to know what we have planned” added Minsky. “We are so excited to bring both events back and have many new surprises for the community.” Please visit the Christmas in the Park website for more information.

Back to