A cold breeze blows through the air as two miles of the Fig Garden gleam with festive holiday cheer. The roads teem with spectators who gaze at 140 homes sprinkled with lights and Christmas characters like Santa and Rudolph.
Christmas Tree Lane is one of the oldest holiday traditions in Fresno. It began in 1920 with the death of a child. The Winnings family decorated a tree after their son died and their neighbors along Van Ness Boulevard followed suit. Their decorated homes came to be known as Christmas Tree Lane.
“I love Christmas Tree Lane,” Bryce Fonda, ’06, said. “It is fun and spectacular with lots of lights. It is a great place for families to go.”
The lane will be open for walkers only on Dec. 1 and Dec. 7 from 6 ? 9 P.M. The walk is free, but donations are accepted. Shuttles will be available from 5:45 ? 8:45 P.M. at the local Gottschalks and Longs Drugs in Fig Garden Village for $5 if a ticket is bought in advance and $7 on the day of the event (children 5 and under are free).
“I would rather walk down Christmas Tree Lane,” Fonda said. “While walking you can see things more closely and take your time. It also gives you exercise, and I would rather wear out my shoes than my tires.”
Christmas Tree Lane will be open until Dec. 26 to vehicular traffic, for those that do not like to walk along the lane.
“It is too cold to walk in December.” Kacie Filgas, ’05, said. “I would much rather drive through; you are still able to look at all the lights and you can go slow if you want to. There are also too many people when you walk to really enjoy it.”
Most people do not understand the work that goes into setting up all the attractions. One man, named Shawn Caglia, installs all of the lights and displays that fall on county property. It takes him three months to finish the construction.
Only twice in the history of Christmas Tree Lane has it ever gone dark: in 1941 due to wartime restrictions, and in 1973 due to a power crisis.
“The colorful lights make me happy,” Filgas said. “I cannot imagine it being dark on Christmas.”
Christmas Tree Lane will be open Sundays ? Thursdays from 6 ? 10 P.M. and on Fridays and Saturdays from 6 ? 11 P.M. until Dec. 26.
For more information concerning Christmas Tree Lane, contact Dean Alexander at 225-9088 or Jan Booth at 439-8175 or go to www.oldfig.org/about/christmastreelane.html.