In a year of canceled and postponed events, California Living Museum has given Bakersfield an early Christmas present. The popular HolidayLights at CALM will take place this year as drive-thru experience.
“HolidayLights is a long-standing tradition in our community attended by more than 65,000 visitors every year,” Russell Bigler, chair of the CALM Foundation, said in a news release. “We could not imagine canceling Kern County’s favorite event, and yet we also want to make sure we are operating in a safe manner that reflects our current realities.
"People need something positive to look forward to this holiday season and CALM directly benefits from the revenue generated as a result of HolidayLights.”
The zoo's largest fundraiser returns Nov. 28, running daily from 5:30 to 9 p.m. through Jan. 2 (closed Dec. 25), with the last car being admitted at 8:30 p.m. Only passenger vehicles (no RVs, buses or limousines) will be allowed to drive along the mile-long path through CALM's ample parking lot.
Animated light displays, created and installed by Bakersfield resident Josh Barnett and his company Lightasmic!, will be placed along the route.
Other details, including pricing and ticket sales, will be posted in the next few weeks.
HolidayLights is a major player among local holiday events. For years, it has been voted best annual event in The Californian's annual readers poll. Other accolades include being named one of the top 10 light shows in the western U.S. by the Los Angeles Times, and among the 10 best zoo light shows in the U.S by USA Today.
CALM will also reopen its native zoo and gardens on Sept. 23. Indoor exhibits, the playground and train will remain closed per state directives.
Hours will be 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. CALM is located at 10500 Alfred Harrell Highway.