Christmas Tree Lane prepares to light up the season

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Lights are turning on and decorations are going up along Van Ness in Fresno. Despite rainy weather, it was business as usual for homeowners gearing up for a time honored tradition. 

“Hundreds of thousands. I mean there’s so many light,” volunteer Mike George said as he was getting Christmas Tree Lane set up Thursday. It was his 21st year taking part in the event. 

“It makes a beautiful picture, so we had tons of people taking photos,” Mary and Kevin Benotti said. 

“Actually probably for the last two month I’ve been doing this every weekend solid besides my regular job and then this whole week I put my other job aside and this is what I’m doing,” George said. 

It’s a labor of love for volunteers and those living on a stretch of road between Shields and Shaw in Fresno’s Fig Garden.

“It’s heart tugging. It’s how we give back to the community. We open our neighborhood and say come enjoy, experience Christmas with us,” Dean Alexander chairman of Christmas Tree Lane said. 

“It’s special for me because I went to school here at Fresno State and my roommate and I many years ago drove down the lane and said ‘Wouldn’t it be amazing to live here some day?'” Mary Benotti said. 

The Benotti’s house is now a stop along the way. 

And while the weather might not have been on anyone’s wish list it did not dampen any spirits. 

“We’re busy. Rain or shine we’re out here working trying to get everything ready to go,” Alexander said. 

The attraction takes three months to set up and another three to break down. It stretches nearly two miles, and is put on by the Fig Garden Homeowners Association. 

“Christmas itself, just the holiday brings people together to do something you wouldn’t normally do. Like everybody that pitches in. It’s not something you would do normally. So it’s a good thing,” George said. 

Christmas tree lane kicks off this Saturday at 6 p.m. The free event is funded by donations from the public. 

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