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Christmas Town readies for Friday opening

Celebrating with more than 3 million lights decorated in all manner of yuletide cheer, Bakersfield Christmas Town is set to light up the sky over the Kern County Museum on Chester Avenue starting Friday.

Hosted by Youth Tomorrow of Bakersfield, the nonprofit organization works in conjunction with the Kern County Museum that hosts the event, according to Jessica Barr, director of operations for Bakersfield Christmas Town.

The event not only brings together people in appreciation of Christmas lights, holiday displays and the chance to ice-skate around a well-lit 40-foot-high Christmas tree, it also provides about 100 high school- and college-age students with entry-level work experience, which is one of the main goals of Youth Tomorrow, Barr said.

“We’re teaching young people things that are important when it comes to work,” Barr said, mentioning the importance of core work habits such as being punctual and avoiding cellphone distractions while on the job. “When they make a mistake, we try to retrain them and direct them in a positive manner and make sure they understand this is a job.”

For the first time this year, the event will offer its traditional walk-thru option, as well as a drive-thru option, which was created last year due to the pandemic and brought in about 100,000 attendees during the event’s 37-day run last year, Barr added.

The event includes a sledding hill, a skating rink, a cottage where children can visit with Santa Claus and a hay-train ride through Christmas Town, for those who choose to walk through instead of drive.

The 25-acre lot will be open from 5:30 to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and from 5:30 to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Admission is $20 to walk through the event every day; $25 to drive through the event from Monday to Thursday; $35 to drive through on Friday and Sunday; and $40 to drive through on Saturday.

The Kern County Museum is located at 3801 Chester Ave.