More than a million dazzling lights and breathtaking displays transform New Orleans City Park for the annual holiday tradition, Celebration in the Oaks. The magical winter spectacle attracts crowds each year with 25 acres of holiday lights and local favorites like Mister Bingle and the “Cajun Night Before Christmas.”
This year marks the 33rd anniversary of the annual holiday lights festival. Celebration in the Oaks also debuts new light installations and launches carriage rides at the event this season for even more merriment.
Thanksgiving weekend marks the official opening for the holiday season. Celebration in the Oaks opens on Friday, Nov. 29 and runs through Jan. 1, 2020 — with exception of closing on Dec. 24 and Dec. 31.
This year, Celebration in the Oaks launches holiday carriage rides, dubbed “Muletide” rides, through a new partnership with Royal Carriages. Organizers say they hope to create a new, annual family tradition for everyone in New Orleans.
Mules will be dressed in holiday styles, including a mule named Mr. Bingle — based on the treasured holiday icon.
Rides are set to start on Dec. 2, with the complete schedule running from Dec. 2 – 5, Dec. 9 -12 and Dec. 16 – 19. Tours will run from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Each 30-minute tour departs from Irby Avenue near Storyland and winds through the park.
Tickets for carriage rides cost $20, and children under three years-old are free.
City Park also debuts two new huge installations with RGB lighting called “Fountains of Joy” and “Swooning Swamp.” Visitors can find these new lights displays along the train route.
Plus, a full bar will offer drinks at the new Kitchen in the Garden, which recently opened inside the New Orleans Botanical Garden. Guests can now also make S’mores over the fire in Campfire Village.
“Celebration in the Oaks is a wonderful holiday display that people come from all over the world to enjoy. We’ve had visitors from 48 states and as far away as Australia,” special event director Julie LaCour said in a release. “Coupled with our many traditional items visitors see each year, the new exhibits are an example of our team’s creativity with lights and engineering. We’re also excited to be building out the light exhibits this year along the train route and continue to bring programs to the event like Storyland Story Time and Yoga under the Lights.”
Additional events will happen throughout New Orleans Botanical Garden, Carousel Gardens Amusement Park, Storyland, and the Train Route.
Here’s a list of other activities to expect for the 2019 season:
- Mutt Mondays: Guests can bring their dogs to the Botanical Garden and use the SPCA photo booth to take fun holiday photos with their furry friends on Dec. 2, 9 and 16.
- Yoga Under the Lights: Take yoga classes under the dripping snow lights on Dec. 4, 11 and 18.
- Storytime in Storyland: Kids can hear local authors read stories under the Storyland Castle in the newly revitalized Storyland. Storytime will be held on Dec. 2-5, Dec. 9-12 and Dec. 16-19 from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.
- Toys for Tots will be held on Dec. 17
FOX 8 will also broadcast FOX 8 Morning Edition live from Celebration in the Oaks on Dec. 6 from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. FOX 8 is the official media partner for Celebration in the Oaks.
Celebration in the Oaks opens nightly on Friday and Saturday from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. and Sunday through Thursday from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Admission is $10, and children under age 3 are free, along with Friends of City Park members. Straight to the gate tickets bundling admission and an unlimited ride band costs $28 per person.
For more information about Celebration in the Oaks and to purchase tickets, visit the website.
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