Posted September 27, 2020 at 10:59 PM by Amanda Frentz
New Orleans City Park celebrates the 34th year of Celebration in the Oaks with the announcement of a change for the 2020 holiday season. The Celebration in the Oaks fundraiser will operate as a driving tour for the season.
The Park decision was made to offer a safe opportunity for the people of the region to celebrate this holiday season. Staff has been working tirelessly to adapt the fundraiser to make it safe and operate within COVID-19 guidelines and restrictions. The Park intends to add to the event, if possible, as restrictions may loosen closer to the event dates.
The Park has become a vital outlet for many New Orleanians during the pandemic as a place of respite. Whether it’s a place to get fresh air, exercise, or a place to safely recreate as a family, City Park is here for the people of New Orleans.
“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 is implementing a new ticketing system for the event to ensure a positive guest experience. At the time of purchase, guests will choose a date and time to experience the driving tour. Tickets will not be valid on any other date or time that is outside of the one purchased. 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.
Should guidelines allow for additions to this event, we will make those announcements at that time. These could include: access to Mister Bingle off the driving tour, photos with Santa, access to concessions, train ride, etc. Any changes or additions to the event will be listed on CelebrationIntheOaks.com.
Event Dates: November 26th – January 3rd (closed December 24th and 31st)
Event Times: Sunday – Thursday 6pm to 10pm and Friday & Saturday 5pm to 11pm
Route: 2.25 miles around the Park: Beginning on Friederichs Ave. to Zachary Taylor Dr. to Henry Thomas Dr. to Palm Dr. to Roosevelt Mall to Stadium Drive and ending on Dreyfous Ave.
Tickets on sale now: A limited number of tickets will be sold per day and per time slot. Guests are encouraged to purchase their desired day and time, as some time slots are anticipated to sell out quickly: CelebrationInTheOaks.com
Prices: *New this year, all tickets must be purchased online before arrival. Each driver will choose a date and time to attend the event.
• Prices are based upon dates, times, and vehicle size:
o Cars/SUVs: $18.99 – $32.99 (limit 8 guests/vehicle)
o Limos: $65.00 - $99.00 (limit 12 guests/vehicle) and Party Buses under 11’: $125-$175 (limit 20 guests/vehicle)
o Friends of City Park members: receive 1 free admission and unlimited ½ price admission valid anytime on Mondays, Tuesdays, or Wednesdays November 30th – January 3rd (except for the week of Christmas: Dec.21-23)
Examples of exhibits guests will see:
- Items new for 2020 season:
o Salute to medical personnel
- Items from pre-2004 driving tour back this year:
o “Monstro” the 24’ tall whale from Pinocchio and as depicted in Storyland
o “Waving Santa” the 15’ tall Santa seen as guests exit the route
- Items from last 15 years back this year:
o Dino-Bration, Buggin’ Out, music tribute, Jackson Square scenes, Toyland, Victoria the unicorn, the dodecahedron, Who Dat tree, pirate ship, Flamingo Island, and more
- Though the experience has changed, the event still boasts over 1 million lights.
- The event can host up-to 450 cars an hour.
- The new ticketing process will help keep cars moving by allowing guests to purchase a tour for a specific time and night.
- In previous years, Celebration in the Oaks has been the Park’s largest fundraiser bringing in between 13% and 15% of the Park’s operating budget for the year.
- When purchasing tickets, be sure to include everyone’s names who will be in the car for a surprise while on the route.
Due to the driving tour experience and pandemic restrictions, activities not occurring as a part of the 2020 event (as of 9/28/20):
- No Preview Party or Family Party
- No Jingle Bells & Beer event (as of 9/28/20)
- No nativity scene
- No access to public bathrooms
- No walking along the light exhibits, guests are required to stay in their cars at all times
- No Botanical Garden or Amusement Park part of the event (as of 9/28/20)
- No Party Buses over 11’ tall (they will not clear under the oak trees)
- No group discounts
- No entertainment outside of the light exhibits
Due to COVID-19, this year is more important than ever. Celebration in the Oaks makes up approximately 13% to 15% of the Park’s annual budget. The success of this event is vital to the Park’s day-to-day operations. Companies, individuals, and foundations can support City Park by becoming a Merry Maker Sponsor.
Sponsorships range from $500 - $100,000 and includes an exclusive Preview Night experience on November 20th. For more information, contact Chief Development Officer, Casie Duplechain, at firstname.lastname@example.org.