It’ll come as a shock to absolutely no one that the holidays aren’t quite the same this winter. With that in mind, some of our favorite local holiday events are putting together alternative versions that meet pandemic guidelines. The Cinnamon Bear Holiday Show is one that features a live performance, drive-in style, at Oaks Park. This past weekend, my 4-year-old and I had the pleasure of attending. The show features musical performances of holiday favorites sprinkled into a storytelling adventure. The audience helps Cinnamon Bear (and, yes, Santa is there, too) to locate a stolen magic star and restore the needed holiday spirit.

Like many of us, the last several months stuck at home have been rough, especially now that the weather has turned more dreary and damp. To make it an event to remember, we dressed up in our holiday, party-appropriate outfits (just like any other year). She wore her red holiday dress, gold tights, and sparkly shoes. I put on “real clothes,” my costume earrings, and *gasp* make-up (not like a full face, but literally the most I’ve worn all year). In retrospect, I could have made it into a comfy holiday pajama party and remained in my athleisure wear, but whatever. We were fancy, and she loved it.

After parking at the show, my daughter was thrilled to sit in the front seat of our Prius to watch the show. Cinnamon Bear made it a point to come to every vehicle and wave to the kids, which was a highlight for sure. She also enjoyed waving at other kiddos, including a few that were poking out of their minivan sunroof (brilliant idea). Another viewing option to consider is backing into a spot and opening the rear door to get a great view. 

While we could hear the music with the windows down, you also have the option of tuning in via your car radio. This came in handy as we attended the 4 pm show, the sun went down, and the temperature dropped.

In retrospect, I could definitely have taken my 2-year-old son too. He would have enjoyed the songs and lights, and with a runtime of just over an hour, it was probably short enough to hold his attention. I know he would have gotten a kick out of honking the horn, which happens a lot (in a good way) throughout the performance.

Initially, I planned on bringing our own “holiday picnic,” complete with a thermos of hot cocoa and accompanying marshmallows. Funny story, that didn’t happen. Thankfully, Oaks Park offers selected, socially distanced concessions. You simply scan a QR code, order online, and a staff member brings your order to your car. My kiddo ended up jamming to her favorite holiday song, Feliz Navidad, while snacking on popcorn and sipping hot chocolate.

Even though it wasn’t quite the holiday celebration I envisioned earlier this year, it was able to give her a little bit of that Christmas magic back.

The Cinnamon Bear Holiday Show
Thursday-Sunday, November 27-December 31
4-5:30 pm & 6-7:30 pm
Tickets must be purchased online in advance. One ticket valid for all vehicle occupants (max. 6). $49 per vehicle.

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