Improving safety along Fresno's Christmas Tree Lane

November 22, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
If you've recently walked by Dean Alexander's home on Van Ness near Shaw, chances are you've seen him on a ladder, decorating his front yard for one of Fresno's most cherished traditions, Christmas Tree Lane.

Alexander said, "The lights actually are sequenced so they come, go down and up, so they're walking through a sequencing of lights through an archway."

Since early October, Alexander has spent countless hours putting up more than one-hundred thousand lights, a labor of love that brightens the holidays for many.

"It's the expression on the kids face when they walk by and see it. They're amazed," Alexander said. "It's a little piece of wonderland."

The event draws thousands of onlookers a year, as families get to cruise, or walk along a two mile stretch of Van Ness to experience the holiday spectacle.

But the event was mired in tragedy last year when a teenager was stabbed during one of the popular walk nights. Investigators believed the attack was gang related but the incident left many concerned about safety. Which is why organizers are working with law enforcement agencies to beef up security this year.

Alexander explained, "We had communications with Fresno police, the sheriff's department and highway patrol, and they are increasing their security."

All to keep a family tradition alive.

Jodi Fitzpatrick said, "The spirit is just so good among the community that I would kind of feel safe no matter what."

And thousands of people are expected to walk through this display to get a close-up view when Christmas Tree Lane opens with one of two walk nights, beginning December first.

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