by Kathy Eide Casas
This year, Christmas Tree Lane continues its delightful tradition, celebrating the Lane’s 92nd anniversary and making it one of the longest-running holiday events in our nation. Christmas Tree Lane’s spectacular sparkling display was born in 1920 with the decoration of one single tree, as a way to honor a young boy who had died in a home on the Lane. Who could ever have imagined that the lighting of that one residential tree would grow into a spectacular display that now stretches for two miles, includes well over 100 homes and each Christmas season captivates one hundred thousand visitors.
Since its inception, the Lane has only seen darkness twice in its 92-year history; once in 1941 as a wartime restriction and again in 1973 as the result of the energy crisis. Each year, the lights become more energy efficient, as they are converted to LED lighting for the more than 300 majestic deodar cedars, that light the Lane.
As the Lane has grown over the years, the generational traditions have grown as well. Many who began seeing the wonder of the Lane from the back seat of their parent’s car, now enjoy the brisk air as they walk, rather than ride, with their own children. The magic of Christmas Tree Lane Moments are instantly captured with selfies all along the way, posted for the online world to see on social media sites everywhere. Organizers encourage photos to be captured and posted on the website at www.Christmastreelane.com and on the FB site as well.
Residents are pleased with the enthusiasm of the Lanes’ visitors and each year there are displays that top the previous. In fact, the Dean Alexander residence, a famous stop along the Lane, was recently featured on The Great Christmas Light Fight on ABC30. Up against four other families in the country, the Christmas Tree Lane Alexanders came out on top.
According to ABC Channel 30, the Alexander family has been decorating their home for two decades and they say they’re happy the rest of country was able to experience the Fresno tradition.
“Everybody is a kid coming down Christmas Tree Lane — the little ones to the adults. Everybody is just smiles, and oohs and ahhhs. That’s why I really do it year after year is because of giving back to the community. And obviously this is just perfect, this is icing on the cake because now we know, and the rest of the nation knows, that we have something special in Fresno,” said Dean Alexander.*
On top of showcasing Fresno to the rest of the nation, Alexander says he is donating the $50,000 prize straight back into Christmas Tree Lane. They plan to purchase a man lift that will help people decorate their homes. The Alexander family’s display includes 300,000 LED lights, 1000 feet of LED rope lights, and 500,000 zip ties. It took them 1,500 hours to set up the display.
The Homeowners work year round on the Lane to create the dazzling sites, the musical accompaniments and the holiday displays. From current popular Disney figures, such as those from Frozen, to traditional and religious scenes, visitors will see it all on Fresno’s Christmas Tree Lane.
Emi, Max and Carlos are a group of three twenty-something friends who recently joined a crowd of thousands on the 2nd of two designated walking nights for the Lane. Emi explained, “My mom used to take us down the lane every year, when we were growing up. We loved to watch from the sunroof of the car. Now, it’s even more fun to walk the Lane. It’s crowded and cold and the most Christmas fun every year!” It’s that same memory-making magic that allows thousands of people to ignore the cold, bundle up and enjoy the sights and sounds of the Lane, up close and personal. Memory-making magic, indeed!
Christmas Tree Lane in Fresno, California is located on Van Ness Blvd between Shields Ave and Shaw Ave. From 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday Van Ness is northbound only.
* Source: Channel 30 story