Celebration in the Oaks returning with driving tour, walking tour this holiday season

Celebration in the Oaks returns with driving and walking tour experience this holiday season

NEW ORLEANS (NOLA WEEKEND) - Celebration in the Oaks, the big holiday lights event at City Park, will return with its “biggest footprint” since Hurricane Katrina this season from Nov. 24 to Jan. 1.

This year, the expanded holiday festival will bring back its Botanical Garden walking tour for the first time since the pandemic, along with the 2.25-mile driving tour with enhanced displays and Carousel Garden amusement park rides, New Orleans City Park officials announced Tuesday.

For 2022, organizers boast more light displays and new attractions, taking the New Orleans holiday tradition to “another level.”

“With the Driving Tour and Walking Tour, this will be the biggest footprint Celebration in the Oaks has had since Hurricane Katrina,” Cara Lambright, City Park Conservancy CEO, said in a release. “As our largest annual fundraiser, we can’t wait to share this exciting celebration with our community.”

The month-long fundraiser attracts over 135,000 visitors each year who come to see City Park’s famous live oak trees swathed in over a million twinkling lights and discover hundreds of breathtaking displays throughout the Park.

For 2022, the attraction will include new exhibits, such as Toy Land, a 12-foot Dandelion Meadow Display and Winter Wonderland. The event will also include multiple dedicated bike nights.

Several fan favorites will return including the pirate ship, iconic dinosaurs, Botanical Garden Dripping Tree, Poinsettia Tree, Historic Train Garden and “Cajun Night Before Christmas” scenes.

The Carousel Gardens experience will feature the Carousel Gardens Train, Christmas Tree, Mr. Bingle and free marshmallows and hot chocolate. Storyland will also get decked out for the holidays, officials said.

City Park officials say the 2022 Celebration will offer a variety of options and price points for guests, including driving tour, walking tour, bike night and combo options.

“We heard the call of the community and challenged ourselves to step it up,” Julie LaCour, Director of CITO/Special Events, said in a release. “We know how important this event is to visitors, and we feel confident this year’s final product will make memories for folks that will last a lifetime.”

City Park Conservancy’s annual operating budget is largely reliant on self-generated activities, often weather-dependent, and Celebration in the Oaks plays a key role in funding the Park’s continued maintenance and beauty each year, providing nearly 10% of the Park’s annual budget.

This year marks the 36th anniversary of the annual holiday lights festival. Celebration in the Oaks will close on Mondays and Tuesdays until Dec. 19. The attraction will also close on Dec. 24 and Dec. 31.

For more information or to purchase Celebration in the Oaks tickets, visit the website.

Shan Bailey

Shan Bailey

Shan Bailey is the digital content producer and on-air personality for FOX 8 Nola Weekend. Shan is a creative storyteller who is passionate about creating compelling content that connects with audiences.