By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Christmas Tree Lane draws thousands
Christmas spirit trumps stay-at-home orders
Abel Martinez
Abel Martinez of Modesto drove to Christmas Tree Lane in Ceres donning a Santa suit and sitting behind the wheel of his classic automobile Saturday evening. Traffic down Moffet Road was a bit congested but folks said the view was well worth the wait. - photo by Jeff Benziger

Not even a pandemic – or a governor’s lockdown orders – can steal the Christmas spirit.

That was evident this past weekend, judging by the throngs who turned out for the dazzling lights and sounds of Christmas Tree Lane as Christmas looms into view this week.

It was apparent from the large numbers of families who rolled or strolled down Henry and Vaughn that few were adhering to the governor’s stay-at-home orders. They decide to enjoy the annual tradition anyway.

Traffic was backed up on Moffet Road on Saturday as motorists took turns moving through the lane while many decided to walk – with or without a mask. The creative displays of lights, plywood cutouts and blow-up characters took their minds off of the troublesome news.

Some families living on Henry Avenue warmed themselves around fire pits and in their driveways and barbecued food while some sold food and goodies and knickknacks to the crowds who showed up Saturday – the last Saturday before Christmas.

The worldwide health threat has changed a lot about this year’s approach to Christmas. The city Recreation Department cancelled the annual Christmas Festival and parade which would have taken place on the first Saturday of this month to kick off the lane.

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. Residents understand that when they buy a home on those streets that the community expects their participation.

Hughson residents David Odom, wife Jennifer and son Connor pose for a selfie with an outhouse using Santa blowup display at Ceres' Christmas Tree Lane Saturday evening. Little Wade (off camera) was too busy watching Santa open the door. - photo by Jeff Benziger