Christmas Tree Lane opens, excites crowds for 99th year

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The 99th annual Christmas Tree Lane opened Wednesday night. Families piled into cars and made their way to Van Ness Avenue in central Fresno.

Even though it's in their own backyard, some lifetime Fresno residents are experiencing brand new magic.

"This is my first time. I've been in Fresno 40 years and just going tonight," said Ella Nail, a senior who lives at Fair Winds Senior Home.

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Others are veterans of the holiday spectacle.

"We come every year, huh? Tradition, bring the kids," said Eddie Duren, who brings his kids every December.

Like all the homeowners who decorate, longtime Lane Coordinator Dean Alexander puts in countless hours of work -- but it's a labor of love.

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"It's a tradition! You have generations coming down the lane -- it's something only Fresno has. It's very unique to Fresno and we love it," said Alexander.
For the second year, no walk-nights are scheduled due to the ongoing pandemic, so expect even more cars to crowd Shields and Van Ness.

Last year, that traffic turned tragic when a van waiting in line got stuck on the railroad tracks.

The van was hit by a train, killing 5-year-old Anton Solorio.

RELATED: 5-year-old child killed in train crash while family waited to enter Christmas Tree Lane identified

Now, a memorial honors his memory where he died. Someone even added a small Christmas tree.

A new sign warns drivers to avoid stopping on the tracks along with a police cadet keeping an eye on drivers.

RELATED: Fresno mourns death of 5-year-old in Christmas Tree Lane train crash

The lane will be open Sunday-Thursday from 6 pm to 10 pm and Friday-Saturday from 6 pm to 11 pm through Christmas Day.
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