They dont throw off a lot of heat, but holiday light displays sure can make us feel warm inside. And that feeling is especially nice on the chilly nights weve had of late.
So bundle up.
The good works associated with several of the neighborhood light shows make them shine even brighter and warmer. At the city of Ceres Christmas Festival and grand opening of Christmas Tree Lane at Smyrna Park tonight, visitors are asked to bring a donation of canned food. The festival will begin at 5:30 p.m. and will feature performances by local talent, crafts, face painting, refreshments and photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus. Christmas Tree Lane officially opens at 8, and participants can take trolley rides up and down the lane until 9:30 p.m.
At Turlocks Christmas Tree Lane (aka Wellerman Way), members of Girl Scout Troop 3726 will hold their second annual Caroling for Toys event on Sunday at 5 p.m. Please come join us for caroling and donate a toy; canned food or monetary donations also accepted, the troop says. All donations will benefit the Soroptimist Community Christmas Tree and local food shelters.
Modestos Thornhill Way, which becomes LighTazmic Lane, is home to a two-day Salvation Army toy drive that ends tonight. The fun begins at 5:30 p.m., with more than 60,000 lights, 650 strobes and simulated fireworks dancing to the beat of music as families drive or walk by houses on the street off Snyder Avenue. The public is encouraged to bring new, unwrapped toys for children ages newborn to 12. Light refreshments will be available. To learn more, see Lightazmic.com.
Oxford Court in Turlock, locally famous for its elevated Santa Express toy train, again will have collection barrels out for the Turlock Together food and toy drive. Hours tonight at the attraction are 6 to 9.
And at residential care home The Stratford at Beyer Park, 3529 Forest Glen Drive in Modesto, Santa is outside every Saturday this month to collect change from those who drive by and wish to donate to the Agape Village Foster Agency. Toys and gifts for Agape will be accepted at the Stratford daily throughout December. You cant miss the place at night because it has a show of more than 33,000 lights synchronized to music.
Which displays dazzle the eyes?
The Modesto Bee asked readers to recommend must-see holiday lighting displays, be they their own or friends or neighbors.
David Castillo Sr., who lives at 5955 McHenry Ave. in Modesto, said he never decorated much because its expensive and theres not many houses in my area. For a time, hed just put a wreath on his door, but his son, David Jr., would give him grief about it, ribbing him with remarks like, Thats ghetto, Dad.
Well, Castillo lost his 27-year-old to a car crash on Dec. 20, 2003, and since then has been building his light display over the years in memory of his son. Every year, I add a little something extra, he said. This year, its slide projections memorializing David Jr.
His lighting display isnt fancy, Castillo said, not like professional jobs where you cant even see the wires, but it means a lot to him to put it up. And it means a lot to his 9-year-old grandson, also David, who looks forward to helping put up the lights that honor the dad he never knew.
The daughters of John and Tammy Facey, who live at Caswell and Sixth Street in the Christmas Tree Lane area of Ceres, independently contacted The Bee to say the place is the best, brightest and most beautifully lit-up house in town. The familys handmade Nativity scene is a popular photo spot for folks who come by.
A few readers recommended 1199 Moonlight Drive in Ceres, which has a 30-minute choreographed light and music display.
Rodney and Leigh Lewis, at 4101 Highlights Way, Modesto, have seven lighted trees, a big lighted hot air balloon strung to a lighted pole, Nativity scenes, stars and a Santa Christmas Countdown. Everybody who drives by says its amazing, they said.
Peggy Wika said folks need to swing by 5225 Garst Road, Modesto, which is a winter wonderland of lights with a candy-cane-lined driveway more than 300 feet long, inflatables, a tractor decorated with moving lights and a 12-foot-high Santa and Frosty the Snowman on the roof.
Piret Leonetti recommends the home at 1437 Lansing Drive, Modesto. Lights and more lights on the roof, lawn and on the trees, she says, along with synchronized music, glowing snowballs on the tree, with plenty of snowmen, reindeers and, I believe, they will have more surprises this year.
And Carl Grubbs place, at 2030 Golf Road, is becoming a regular on the list of places to visit, thanks to fellow Turlocker Sandra Stroud, whos impressed each year by his spectacular display of lights. Grubb, 81, has had quite a year: foot surgery, a knee replacement and cataract surgery on both eyes, but it has not stopped him from putting up lights and decorating his yard as he has done every year, she says. Each year, he puts together a display that tops the previous year, and the old-style lights have all been replaced with LED lights for a more dazzling display. He is well-known in Turlock for his beautiful displays, which are a labor of love for him. ... If you happen to be in Turlock, it would be well worth driving by to see.