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Neighborhood spreads joy with Christmas lights

As Thanksgiving passes and fall comes to a close, people’s hearts and mind become set upon one idea: Christmas. The decorations come out and the tree goes up in every home as the happiest time of the year turns the corner.

Kaylie Clem | The Feather Online

Cindy Lane offers Christmas lights and hot cocoa to visitors as they walk through the neighborhood.

A common tradition seen around the holidays is displaying lights outside of the house. This idea began in the United States in the 1960s and continues to spread around the world. Some people love to go above and beyond with this concept, especially a neighborhood in Clovis called Cindy Lane in the Wawona Estates near Peach and Alluvial.

Cindy Lane (sometimes called Candy Cane Lane) is known for bright lights and enjoyable nights of around 100 houses in a Clovis neighborhood. Thousands of people gather every night to either walk or drive Cindy Lane to experience the holiday cheer. Cars line up along Alluvial and Peach or Alluvial and Cindy Lane as people flow into the lit-up streets for the 26th consecutive year.

Ricci Ulrich is a resident who experienced all 26 years of the Cindy Lane fun. She tells about her love for decorating their home and her favorite part about living in the Cindy Lane neighborhood.

“I have been living in Cindy Lane for 26 years,” Ulrich said. “I’m married to ‘Santa Claus’ and that is who started it; he really did. When we first decorated, there were only our house and one house at the end of the block. He’s always loved to decorate for Christmas and I do it because he has so much fun and we love walking the neighborhood. I like that we get to impact so many people in the Fresno and Clovis community. They just get to come in and enjoy the lights and walk and feel safe. You get to see a lot of just home-grown fun Christmas and get to enjoy this time of year.”

Even though every house in the neighborhood becomes strung with lights, the ideas they create can go as far as their collective minds desire. Every house is different in their own way which makes it more special to see the personality of the owners shine through their decorations.

Many houses in Cindy Lane are remembered more than others, such as the “Big Bow” house with the gigantic red bow in the center, the “Ditto” house where their only lights on the house spell out the word “ditto” and the “Blue” house decorated with only blue lights. These houses continue to stay the same throughout the years which makes them more memorable than others.

Kaylie Clem | The Feather Online

Residents put interesting and fun decorations on their house and front lawn to entertain visitors.

Sophia Kalugin, ’19, talks about her experiences at Cindy Lane and the house she favors the most.

“I have annually gone to Cindy Lane since 2008,” Kalugin said. “I usually drive it with my family, but the last couple years I’ve walked it with my friends as well. My favorite part about Cindy Lane is the house with the big red bow. I always look forward to seeing it. My favorite memory is probably driving Cindy Lane last year with my friends for Alina Ochoa’s birthday.”

With holiday cheer spreading, Landon Bell, ’21, tells us about his time in Cindy Lane and his favorite parts of the Christmas season.

“It was really cool to see all the houses decorated for the season of Christmas and to see all the lights,” Bell said. “The last time I went to Cindy Lane was for a leadership party. I remember having cider, hot chocolate and cookies while walking looking at all of the decorated houses. I remember one house that had no lights on except for lights on their roof that spelled out the word ‘ditto’. I thought that it was pretty funny. This upcoming Christmas season, I am just excited to spend time with my family and for the food and music.”

Even though Cindy Lane is well-known in Clovis and Fresno, new residents in the community do not know of Cindy Lane and the joy it brings to the holidays. Ellen Scully, ’21, talks about how she has never heard of neighborhoods like Cindy Lane and what excites her during the Christmas season.

“I have never been to Cindy Lane,” Scully said. “I have never even heard of it. There was nothing like this is Iowa, it was just people on their own house. My favorite thing is probably seeing the Christmas spirit and having a good time with friends celebrating the holidays. I am excited to see friends and family and that we will not have a lot of snow.”

Megan LeBlanc speaks to Cindy Lane resident, Ricci Ulrich about Christmas festivities and decorating.

A tradition done in Cindy Lane is the set-up process the day/weekend after Thanksgiving. The entire neighborhood gathers outside of their house and puts their lights up together. They get to know each other more through helping each other with the lights and bonding with the holiday spirit present. Another tradition done in Cindy Lane is the selling of churros and hot chocolate to citizens as they enjoy the sights. Many families sit on their driveway and prepare delicious treats to warm up anyone visiting.

Kaylie Clem | The Feather Online

Many decorations in Cindy Lane go above and beyond, from giant snowmen to huge red bows.

Teacher Aubri Foster enjoys the holiday spirit and loves living in the community of Cindy Lane. She explains why Cindy Lane is special and why the resident love when people visit.

“Traditionally, our neighbors all decorate the day/weekend after Thanksgiving, but wait to turn on the lights until Dec. 1,” Foster said. “Everyone out on the street decorating and talking is a fun way to get to know your neighbors. My favorite part is that people stop by and say ‘hello’! We love entertaining and talking with visitors while standing around a fire pit in the front yard. Cindy Lane is a special neighborhood with a small-town feel. You should visit us! Plus, our neighbor sells churros that are amazing!”

The Cindy Lane set-up process already began, but the lights start shining Dec. 1. The lights turn on at about 6 p.m. and are turned off by 10 p.m. Walk or drive the streets up until Dec. 26. Head out to Alluvial and Peach to witness the magic Cindy Lane brings to the holidays!

For more on this Clovis tradition, read 25th annual Cindy Lane provides Clovis holiday light tradition. For more articles read Campus groups perform in ‘Lessons and Carols’ Christmas concert.

Megan LeBlanc can be reached via Twitter and via email.

Slideshow images below of Cindy Lane Christmas lights.

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