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

JR Mattos: Exhibit Engineer and TV Personality?

Earlier this year, Christmas in the Park added J.R. Mattos as the new Exhibit Engineer. “We are very excited to have JR on our team” said Jason Minsky, Executive Director for the 40-year-old non-profit organization. “He adds an element that we needed and is the perfect person to lead us into our 2020 drive-through event” added Minsky.

J.R. joins the team with many years of experience in holiday lighting decorating. In fact, you may have been to his family’s Christmas display called “Mattos Orchard Lights” at 1545 Stone Creek Drive in San Jose. Mattos Orchard Lights has been a cherished community favorite for over 13 years, and was voted top pick in the San Jose Mercury News “must see holiday displays” in 2018 and 2019.

Mattos has worked hard each year, with the help of his wife and 2 children, to create a magical experience for those in their community; but In 2019, things changed when Mattos caught the attention of ABC, and now will have a much larger international audience.

“For those that do Christmas lights as a hobby, you always hope to get good enough to be recognized by Light Fight. I never actually thought we would get chosen, you always think that is for other people, but here we are, and could not be more excited.” said Mattos.

The Mattos family will be featured this December on ABC’s the Great Christmas Light Fight, and will be 1 of 4 families competing to win $50,000 and the coveted Light Fight trophy.

While Mattos waits for his episode to air, he has been working feverishly since the beginning of COVID to help bring a whole new Drive-Thru experience to Christmas in the Park. The drive-thru allows people of all ages to come enjoy the holiday cheer in the safety, and comfort of their own car. Mattos aims to include as much of the cherished displays of years past, with a new flair of animated pixel lighting. Pixel lighting is a new type of light, that can turn any color. It will allow patrons of Christmas in the Park to hear the music in their car, while seeing the dancing synchronized lights outside their car.

“This is a new type of show that no one has ever seen before. This drive-thru was created as a way to help deal with COVID-19 situation, while still bringing Christmas in the Park cheer; but it will be much more than that.” said Mattos.

You can come experience the new Christmas in the Park drive-thru from November 27 through January 3.

Check your local listings for when you can catch the Mattos family on ABC’s the Great Christmas Light Fight this December.

Christmas in the Park - A Drive Thru Holiday

The annual non-profit makes plans to keep the 40-year old tradition alive amidst COVID-19

Last year, the annual tradition of Christmas in the Park (CITP) celebrated its 40th year in downtown San Jose. This year, amidst Coronavirus concerns, the organization has had to strategize and find ways to keep the event alive and well for the community to enjoy in a world of uncertainty; the same uncertainty that saw the San Jose Downtown Association’s cancellation of Downtown Ice.

“We have looked at many variations of our event and have discussed ways to keep the event safe for our guests via line control, hand sanitizing stations and other means of safety measures, but because of COVID-19 we feel that for 2020, we have to pivot and have decided that a drive-thru makes the most sense” said Jason Minsky, Christmas in the Park’s Executive Director. “Our board of directors and staff have discussed options at length and this is the best one-year solution for us. It gives us the opportunity to provide something special for our community that has the tradition of Christmas in the Park, with all of our displays and decorated trees, in a manner that can still be enjoyed without safety concerns” added Minsky. "With possible future issues, a second wave, more shelter in place orders, and with how important the event and it's tradition is for the community, the board of directors feel this is the best decision moving forward for 2020. We now give our staff and development committee the time needed to successfully and safely plan for our event this year" said Christmas in the Park board president Andrea Perdichizzi.

In looking for a location to hold the event, the organization didn’t have to look that far as just 2.7 miles away lies History Park; a gated, fenced in “museum” that honors San Jose with its various historical buildings and rich history. “I have always admired the setting that History Park provides. So much so that we moved our annual Christmas in July fundraiser there five years ago” said Jason. The park is also conveniently located across the street from the City of San Jose Central Service Yard, where Christmas in the Park occupies a 32,000 square foot warehouse to store their displays and holiday décor. “We are very excited to be working with Jason and the rest of the Christmas in the Park crew to bring this tradition to our venue in 2020. We feel that this will expose History Park to thousands of people that might not have seen the beauty of our park” said Bill Schroh, president and CEO of History San Jose.

The drive-thru would utilize local parking lots for line control and exit points to have the least amount of impact to those residents that live across from History Park. Using a reservation system, the event would be open during the day and in the evening. “We know that people are used to our event having free admission, but due to lost revenue, as a result of COVID-19 and having to move toward a drive-thru, having a ticketed event is necessary. We know that this might not work for everyone in our community, so we are working on having options that would allow everyone the ability to enjoy our event. We are considering an option where families could sponsor other families to attend and are working with various city council districts to provide free tickets as well” added Minsky.

The bottom line is that Christmas in the Park will be here for the community in 2020. You will still see decorated Christmas trees, iconic displays, and a plethora of décor. To add to the enjoyment of a drive through we are creating custom light exhibits that feature hundreds of thousands of pixel lights in the form of drive-thru tunnel, pixel forests and more! In addition all of the buildings inside History Park will be lit up for the first time for the holidays. “We want to be here for our community and in some way, shape or form, we will get through this together in 2020 and hopefully return stronger and back to normal for 2021” Minsky concluded.

Christmas in July - A Virtual Fundraiser

Annual Fundraiser Goes Virtual Amidst COVID-19 Concerns in 2020

SAVE THE DATE: July 18, 2020

For more than 27 years supporters of Christmas in the Park have gathered each July to raise money for the local nonprofit that holds the annual holiday festival by attending “Christmas in July.” Previously held at iconic locations like Coyote Ranch, City View Plaza, The Circle of Palms and most recently History Park, this year’s event, due to COVID-19, will be in your living room as the organization is going virtual with its fundraiser. The event normally raises about a tenth of the overall organization's budget and with COVID-19 impacting sponsorship revenue along with other potential decreases due to necessary changes in the main Christmas in the Park event later this year, Christmas in July becomes all that more important to keep the main event alive and well.

Those that help support the event by purchasing a ticket will receive “Christmas in a Box” which features a nice bottle of wine from Joseph George Fine Wines and a meal prepared by Café Stritch. Also included is the official 2020 ornament for Christmas in the Park and a sign that features a 33-inch lighted Christmas tree for your front lawn or window. “We wanted people to have something special in return for purchasing a ticket to this year’s event because they aren’t able to come to a live event and the custom lawn sign and ornament are a perfect way to celebrate the 40 years that Christmas in the Park has been around” said Christmas in the Park Executive Director, Jason Minsky.

In addition to an online auction, the event will also feature a two-hour special broadcast that will air live on CreaTV Comcast Channel 30 this July 18 from 6-8pm and live on YouTube. The “variety show” will not only feature some hand-picked local musicians, but through a video submission process, other performers can join the show as part of what Christmas in the Park calls their version of “San Jose’s Got Talent.” “We know there are a lot of talented people in San Jose and we want them to join the show” added Minsky. Video submissions are due by June 15 and those performers that are selected to join the line-up will be notified by June 29. “There are also Christmas in a Box options for children and teens so the entire family can help support our event and enjoy the show” added Minsky.

Event sponsorships and group discounts are available.

The live show and an online auction will be available to the public while the Christmas in a Box option can be purchased online at

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