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July 12, 2024

Holiday-themed maze and roller skating rink opens in Gilroy

Organizers behind haunted attraction create new event

The masterminds behind the World’s Largest Haunted House are back with a new event in Gilroy: Garlic City Lights.

Gone are the cobwebs, zombies and gravestones, and in its place is snow, toys and of course, Santa Claus.

After the Halloween event ended in October, organizers Oscar Garcia and Alicia Juarez got to work transforming the former furniture store at 8630 San Ysidro Ave., Suite 104 into a winter wonderland.

As guests enter the building through a series of colorful archways, they are greeted by a 17-foot-tall tree from Bourdet’s Christmas Trees in Hollister, which is decked out in more than 30,000 lights.

A holiday boutique featuring custom items from CalGirlzCrafts is set up in one corner of the building.

The haunted maze from Halloween has been repurposed without the scares, featuring scenes including Candy Cane Lane, complete with lighted arches and a snow machine, and characters such as the Grinch and Ebenezer Scrooge. More than 30 trees are scattered throughout as festive music appropriate for each scene fills the room.

A massive roller skating rink is also a star attraction of Garlic City Lights, as well as GellyBall Blasters, where guests can shoot water-filled projectiles at targets.

Garcia and his family and friends first set up a haunted house at the former Walmart building in Gilroy in 2006. The attraction bounced around to different areas in Gilroy and Morgan Hill before it moved to the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds for a number of years.

As such, they were able to repurpose many of the props every year. But for Garlic City Lights, it was a different story.

“We built everything from scratch,” Garcia said, noting that it’s been a non-stop process since September putting together both events.

Attendees are also invited to donate a toy for the Gilroy Firefighters Local 2805’s Christmas toy drive, which benefits the YMCA, St. Joseph’s and Rebekah Children’s Services.

Garlic City Lights is also booking parties for up to 150 people.

Garlic City Lights, which runs through Dec. 31, is open Fridays and Saturdays from 3-8pm, and Thursdays and Sundays from 3-7pm. General admission is $15 (children ages 2 and under are free), and the roller skate fee with skate rental is $10 (or $7 if you bring your own skates). 

For information, visit garliccitylights.com.

garlic city lights
Candy Cane Lane is one scene inside the maze of Garlic City Lights. Photo: Erik Chalhoub
Erik Chalhoub
Erik Chalhoub
Erik Chalhoub joined Weeklys as an editor in 2019. Prior to his current position, Chalhoub worked at The Pajaronian in Watsonville for seven years, serving as managing editor from 2014-2019.

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