Christmas Tree Lane is open, despite rain
The wet weather Saturday didn’t keep away the thousands of people who walked through puddles and muddy driveways to see their favorite holiday decorations along Christmas Tree Lane in Fresno.
Saturday’s event marked the opening of Christmas Tree Lane and its 90th anniversary. The lane features nearly 150 homes and 300 trees decorated with lights.
The two-mile stretch of holiday displays on Van Ness Boulevard between Shields and Shaw avenues opens at 6 p.m.
The lane is open to motorists from today through Dec. 25. The lane is closed to drivers again on Dec. 11 for the second pedestrian-only event of the season.
In addition to the large crowd of families and children, Saturday’s event drew a large contingent of Fresno County sheriff’s deputies and officers from the Multi-Agency Gang Enforcement Consortium, or M.A.G.E.C.
The beefed-up law enforcement presence was a response to last year’s gang-related stabbing on the second walking night at Christmas Tree Lane.
Officers from police departments in Fresno, Clovis and Sanger and the California Highway Patrol were stationed at nearly every other intersection, with the sheriff’s off-road unit working up and down Van Ness Boulevard, sheriff’s Sgt. Joshua McCahill said.
“We’re here to suppress those we don’t want to come, which are gang members,” he said. “We’re here to keep the lane safe for families.”
David Broyles and his wife, Stacey, didn’t let the wet weather keep them from bringing their 4-year-old son, Gauge, and 2-year-old daughter, Sydney, to start the holiday season.
“We’re glad we came out,” said David Broyles, who had planned the trip for the past week.
Broyles wasn’t upset about the showers earlier in the day that left the lane wet and muddy, saying it added to the Christmas feel.
“I think it’s better than being dry because it contributes to what’s going on out here,” David said.
For Amy Koehler and boyfriend Devyn Streets, both 24, it was their second time at Christmas Tree Lane. They were excited to return regardless of the weather or last year’s stabbing.
“I told him we were coming rain or shine,” Koehler said.
Safety wasn’t a concern for the young couple, who were committed to walking Christmas Tree Lane.
“It adds to the atmosphere of the season and really gets you in the holiday spirit,” Koehler said.
IF YOU GO
–The next walk night is Dec 11.
–Otherwise, it’s open 6-11 p.m. (Fridays and Saturday)
6-10 p.m. (Sunday-Thursday) until Dec. 25.
By Angel Moreno