FRESNO, Calif. (KGPE) – The kickoff to the holiday season here in Fresno has begun with the opening night of Christmas Tree Lane, and those who made it out Wednesday night were not left disappointed.
The grand opening took place at 6:00 p.m. Cars made their way through the festive holiday drive-thru event which will be celebrating its 99th year this season.
Officials for the lane say they can expect anywhere from 1,500 to 3,000 cars each night they are open.
“Families will come down and the smiles on their faces, they’re laughing,” said Christmas Tree Chairman Dean Alexander.
Young visitors like Jeanette Castillo and Savannah Gonzalez said they didn’t mind waiting in the line of cars to see the holiday lights.
“I loved it, and this house is so pretty,” said Castillo.
Gonzalez agreed, “It was fun and really exciting.”
The girls were among 1,500 cars who drove here Wednesday night.
“It is something that is very special to Fresno,” said Alexander.
Alexander is also the owner of Christmas Tree Lane’s final home of the drive-thru event.
“It’s actually grown over time.,” he said. “Before we had a small display, now I’m the grand finale.”
Alexander said that Christmas Tree Lane is growing with new homeowners coming in and bringing with them ideas for new decorations and displays. But this year due to some COVID-19 restrictions walkthroughs will not be allowed.
“We still have California the regulations because California recommends that they [visitors] be vaccinated or be tested. We have 53 points of entering and there’s no way we can do that.”
There will also be extra police presence this year as a result of last year’s accident which claimed the life of a young visitor.
Christmas Tree Lane will be open from Sun. through Thurs., 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. and Fridays and Saturdays from 6:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. The lane will stay open until Christmas day.