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Holiday Lights at CALM returns as a drive-thru

Holiday Extravaganza CALM Holiday Lights
Posted at 4:09 PM, Nov 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-23 01:45:16-05

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — Holiday lights at CALM are back and just like last year, you don’t need to leave your car to enjoy it.

The 19th annual holiday lights at CALM are back and for the second year in a row, it’s a Winter Wonderland on Wheels.

“They loved having, grandma, the dog, and the baby all in the car together,” said Steve Sanders, Chief of Staff, Kern County Superintendent of Schools.

Sanders, who helped with the event, said the drive-thru format that spans 6-7 acres of their parking--was an even bigger success than the walkthrough they had pre-pandemic.

“We normally raise about two to three thousand dollars each year, last year we raised about $350,000 and had 100,000 people come, that’s 25,000 cars! It’s an amazing way to support our local institution and we’re the number one thing to do on TripAdvisor in Kern County,” said Sanders.

For this light show--everyone has a front-row seat--because it takes place right inside your car. General admission is $30--but that's a flat rate for any friends and family joining you during the drive-thru.

“We see generations of kids from years ago coming with their parents, grandparents, and that’s really what it is about--enjoying the family time and the holiday season.,” said Sanders.

Bakersfield resident Josh Barnett and his company Lightasmic have been working on this before way before the season’s greetings--since august. It’s that sheer creativity, Sanders points out that has landed holiday lights at calm on the USA today’s top 10 zoo light shows list for the second year in a row.

“Every year, josh sits down, he has these new ideas. And it’s like sitting down with an artist. Then we see it in person, and it’s just amazing,” said Sanders.

On your drive, you’ll discover --holiday trimmings, head nods to the Bakersfield Sound, and a tribute to animals the California living museum call home. After all, the money raised all goes back to taking care of them.

“This is the largest wildlife rehabilitation center in Kern County. It’s our local zoo that only exhibits native animals that can’t be returned to the wild. We are building a new vet clinic, so all that money will go right back into animal care,” said Sanders.

You can enjoy holiday lights at CALM starting Saturday, November 27th until January 21st, except Christmas, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Tickets are $30 per car but there are discounts for veterans and CALM Zoo members.