Celebration in the Oaks returns as driving tour this holiday season

Celebration in the Oaks will operate as a driving tour when the holiday lights event returns to New Orleans City Park from Nov. 26 to Jan. 3.

The big change comes as City Park officials announced on Monday how they plan to adapt this year’s event to operate within COVID-19 guidelines.

Photo courtesy: Celebration in the oaks

The magical winter spectacle is known for attracting crowds each year with 25 acres of holiday lights and local favorites like Mister Bingle and the “Cajun Night Before Christmas.”

Now, families can still enjoy the annual holiday tradition from the comfort of their car during a two-mile route around the park.

“We know our guests need something to look forward to during this troubling time. We’re thrilled to be able to turn the New Orleans tradition of Celebration in the Oaks into an activity people of all ages can attend safely during the holiday season. We’ve been working hard to keep the Park moving forward and we know the people of the region are working hard during this time as well. We can’t wait to see the smiles from the kids ages one to one hundred,” says Bob Becker, City Park CEO.

City Park will also implement a new ticketing system for the event. At the time of purchase, guests will choose a date and time to experience the driving tour.

Guests will show their smartphone or printed QR code upon arrival and enter the queue to begin the driving tour. Guests will be required to stay in their vehicles at all times. There will be a limited number of tickets sold per time slot and the experience will be between 30 and 47 minutes.

City Park officials say they hope to announce additions to the event if restrictions loosen closer to the event dates and guidelines allow. Those additions could include access to Mister Bingle off the driving tour, photos with Santa, access to concessions and train rides.

Any changes or additions to the event will be listed on the Celebration in the Oaks website. Tickets are on sale now, and prices are based upon dates, times and vehicle size.

This year marks the 34th anniversary of the annual holiday lights festival. This year also marks the first time Celebration in the Oaks has offered driving tours since pre-Katrina.

Due to the pandemic, Celebration in the Oaks will cancel its Preview Party, Family Party and Jingle Bells and Beer event.

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