Bud Vierra took advantage of the full sun yesterday, positioning penguin decorations in his Caswell Avenue yard in anticipation of the opening of Christmas Tree Lane this Saturday.
"When I moved in here in 1964 this was Christmas Tree Lane," said Vierra, well known in the area as a longtime pharmacist. "At the time this was the edge of Ceres and as this other neighborhoods was built they kind of took it over."
Starting this Saturday, Henry Avenue and Vaughn Street will be transformed into Christmas Tree Lane as it has since the 1960s. The attraction is so popular that it draws traffic from neighborhoods as far away as Atwater and Manteca. The official opening of the lane will follow the 29th annual Christmas Festival, which begins at 5:30 p.m. in nearby Smyrna Park. The community is invited to attend the city event.
This year's event will include a parade from Smyrna Park to Christmas Tree Lane, featuring marching band students from Ceres schools.
The Christmas Festival will include performances by local talent, free photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus, Christmas crafts, refreshments, and face painting in Santa's Village. At the conclusion of the performance segment at 7:15 p.m., marching bands from Ceres and Central Valley high schools will lead the way to the entrance of Christmas Tree Lane for the ribbon cutting ceremony.
There will be trolley and tram rides up and down Christmas Tree Lane until 9 p.m.
Christmas Tree Lane has been a tradition in Ceres since December 1961 and is dependent on the participation of residents along Henry Avenue and Vaughn Street.
For additional information, call Traci Farris at 538-5682.
The 20th annual "Journey to Bethlehem" event at Grace Community Christian Church, 3754 Service Road, will be held Dec. 1, 2, 3 and Dec. 8, 9 and 10. On Thursdays and Fridays the event starts at 7 p.m. and Saturdays at 6 p.m. with gates closing at 9 p.m. each night. The public is welcome to attend the free Christmas event which involves walking through live re-enactment of the biblical journey to Christ's birth.
Those who wanting to help volunteer should call the church at 531-1902.