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Christmas Tree Lane
This two-mile stretch of Van Ness Boulevard becomes a twinkling wonderland each night in December. The Lane opens Thursday, December 1st, to pedestrians. We spoke with Christmas Tree Lane Coordinator Dean Alexander about the annual event.
You live on Christmas Tree Lane, is that right?
Yes, I've been a resident for 15 years on the Lane.
Do you know the history of Christmas tree lane?
It started back in the 1920's when a boy died and in memory of the child they actually decorated one tree. And then the Fig Garden Women's Association got involved and they encouraged residents to also decorate trees and it developed to this, where we have two miles of lighted trees.
Where does it start and where does it end?
It begins from Shields avenue and it terminates near Shaw Avenue, on Van Ness Boulevard
Is there a fund or does everyone have to supply their own decorations for Christmas Tree Lane?
The donations actually help put up all the lights on the Lane. So for the two miles, the length of the Lane the lights beings put up by the [Old Fig Homeowners] Association. And then each resident puts up their own decoration at their house
What are you putting up this year?
Oh I live on the end of the Lane and I have the elaborate display which consists of the castle, mickey and minnie going around on a track inside the castle flying angles the laser show it's pretty elaborate.
The laser show?
Is that the Giant Joy to the World sign?
No, I don't have the giant Joy to the World sign, that's actually south of me.
How often to you change your display?
I try to add something every year so I don't change it as much as ad to it because you have everything set up and it takes years and years of just ironing these logistics out to make sure it works. But every year I try to add something. This year I'm adding dancing christmas trees.
When you bought the house, did you already know about Christmas Tree Lane?
Yeah I'd been in Fresno for 30 plus years now, so I knew about it but I didn't know how elaborate it was, you don't know until you become a Lane member.
Does everyone who lives on the Lane participate?
Well I'd say probably 80% of the residents participate or maybe 90%. In Old Fig Garden you have a lot of residents that are getting up in age that don't have the capability to decorate their house. So what we do is, high schools actually do a display. We try to minimize any back areas
Last year how many people drove through or walked through Christmas Tree Lane?
I think walking we had about 20,000 people per night regarding walking and driving we probably had about 40,000 vehicles drive down the lane.
Christmas Tree Lane will be open to pedestrian-only traffic Thursday, December 1st and Wednesday, December 7th. The Lane will be closed to vehicles from 6pm to 10pm on those nights. For more information, visit www.oldfig.org.