96th annual Christmas Tree Lane opens for Valley natives, newcomers to enjoy

Vanessa Vasconcelos Image
Sunday, December 2, 2018
96th annual Christmas Tree Lane opens for Valley natives, newcomers to enjoy
96th annual Christmas Tree Lane opens for Valley natives, newcomers to enjoy

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- For a 96th year a 2-mile stretch of northwest Fresno is glowing.

Van Ness Avenue in the Old Fig neighborhood has been transformed into Christmas Tree Lane where thousands of lights and decorations are on display.

"We bought hot cocoa and everything were excited to see the lights," said Maria Malta.

Opening night doubled as the first walk night of the 25 day display.

"It's a nice tradition to pass on to all the kids i just see everybody comes out and has a great time," said Karen Peck of Fresno.

Peck has been coming since she was a child so sharing the lane with her children and now grand children has been a special part of the holidays.

"I like all the lights on top and walking around both sides," said Daeya Peck.

As for the Christmas Tree Lane fan favorite, the award winning Alexander house never ceases to amaze.

"I have over 250,000 lights, 1,000 extension chords, 10,000 zip ties," said Christmas Tree Lane organizer Dean Alexander.

"It has a bunch of lights it has a giant clock and firework lights," Jaoquin Villareal said.

Alexander starts decorating mid-October. He calls it his labor of love.

"Just the smiles on people's faces its family it gives back to the Fresno community," he said.

Though weather was a concern for opening night, which is also the first walk night of the celebration, the crowds didn't thin.

Vanessa Vasconcelos meets with visitors at the 96th annual Christmas Tree Lane opening night.

"We knew it would clear up but we knew it would be cold so we bundled up and came out," said Corina Sanchez, a first time visitor.

Having just moved from Los Angeles, Corina Sanchez is walking the lane for the first time.

"We heard a lot about it and excited to see what all the hype is all about," said Sanchez.

Close to 70 deputies with the Fresno County Sheriff's office will patrol the area by car, motorcycle, bike and horseback.

Other than the potential for smash and grabs with unattended cars, their biggest concern is making sure families stick together so each intersection has at least one deputy on hand.

"It is a big crowd it's easy to get separated form your group especially with the little ones because everyone's looking upward and looking at the lights it's easy to wander off," said Lieutenant Kathy Curtice.