As December approaches, Los Gatos transforms into a festive wonderland of holiday spirit that begins with the annual tree lighting ceremony, followed by the Children’s Christmas Holiday Parade and the grand opening of the town’s Fantasy of Lights in Vasona Park.
Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony
Held in the Town Plaza on Friday, December 2nd, the almost century-old fir tree planted in 1923 by the Los Gatos History Club is adorned with glittering LED lights. When twilight falls, the Mayor lights the tree, to the delight of many adults and children who come out each year to take part in this Los Gatos holiday tradition and officially get into the holiday spirit.
Children’s Christmas Holiday Parade
The celebration continues on Saturday, December 3rd with the 60th annual Los Gatos Children’s Christmas/Holiday Parade. 15,000 people line the streets to watch the parade’s Grand Marshall lead children in holiday attire, marching bands, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, classic cars, festive floats and finally, the parade’s official Santa Claus down Main Street and Santa Cruz Avenue. The parade begins at 11am but spectators arrive early to claim the best viewing spots.
Graceful horse-drawn carriages take riders through downtown Los Gatos where the shops are bedecked for the season and into nearby neighborhoods of gorgeous historic homes. The 20-minute ride is a perfect way to begin or end a romantic night out or as a holiday family tradition. Carriage rides take place the evenings of Friday, December 2nd and Saturday, December 3rd as well as the following three weekends: December 9th, 10th & 11th, the 16th, 17th & 18th and 21st, 22nd, & 23rd. Tickets are $25 for adults and $10 for children ages 3 through 10 and can be purchased in advance from the Los Gatos Chamber website. A full carriage ride, which holds four adults and two children, is $110.
Fantasy of Lights
Now in its 18th season, Fantasy of Lights continues to be the premier holiday lights spectacular in the Silicon Valley. Vasona Park is transformed into a glittering 1.5 mile drive-through light show that the entire family will enjoy. Animated, twinkling and larger-than-life, the Fantasy of Lights includes an erupting volcano in the dinosaur den, Santa shooting hoops, a pen of playful penguins, blazing pirate ship cannons, and tunnels of lights. Vasona lake is aglow, the trees are alight and the holiday spirit abounds. Friday, December 3rd and Saturday, December 4th are the popular walk through events, during which families can bundle up and stroll through the route on foot, enjoying carolers as well as a “Moveable Feast” put on by a variety of food trucks. Tickets are $12 per person for ages 13 and above, $5 for ages 4 to 12 and children 3 and younger are free. Thereafter, Fantasy of Light is open nightly through December 30th from 6 to 10pm. Tickets are $20 per vehicle (plus a small processing fee) and must be purchased online in advance. For questions about the event, contact the Santa Clara Parks Administration Office at 408-355-2201.
For additional Los Gatos holiday events, including the Girl’s Night Out Thursday, December 8th beginning at 5:30pm and the Holiday Stroll on Sunday December 11th at 5pm, visit the Los Gatos Chamber of Commerce website or call them at 408-354-9300 for more information.