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It’s been a Fresno tradition since 1922 — just a few years after the last pandemic that roiled the nation and the Valley.

Christmas Tree Lane is not letting COVID-19 dampen the holiday spirit. The venerable Van Ness Avenue light display is set to open December 1.

In a post to the event’s official Facebook page, organizers said, “Due to the pandemic we have opted to NOT have walk-only nights this year. We will open this year on December the first and will be open through Christmas.”

The confirmation that the lane would be open this year came as welcome news to followers on Facebook. In a comment on the page, Amanda Rose said, “So glad we can make our yearly drive through, my son will be so excited. Thank you.”

Some 140 homes and 300 trees are decorated along nearly two mile from Shields Ave. and Shaw Ave. Millions of lights along Christmas Tree Lane are turned on when it opens for viewing at 6 p.m. each night.

The free event is sponsored by the Fig Garden Homeowners Association and supported by donations from the public.

Big Fresno Fair’s New Fantasy of Lights Show

The Fresno Fairgrounds is transforming into a magical Winter Wonderland this holiday season for the first-ever Big Fresno Fair’s Holiday Fantasy of Lights Show.

Visitors can drive through the fairgrounds and enjoy more than 450 holiday lights displays as they listen to Christmas music, sip on hot cocoa and more. The Fair has partnered with Lightasmic, to create the show, which will run from December 3 through January 3, It will be closed on Christmas. Hours are 5 p.m. – 9 p.m. with gates opening at 4 p.m.

Tickets can be purchased in advance online at www.FresnoFair.com/HolidayLights or at the Fair’s Box Office at 1121 S. Chance Ave. Monday – Thursday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Ticket prices are $20 per vehicle for Monday – Thursday viewings and $25 on Fridays – Sundays. Tickets can be purchased at the gate for an additional $5.

A vendor area will offer a selection of fair food, plus hot cocoa and other treats for sale before vehicles begin driving through. There will also be a special treat for attendees Friday – Sunday, with Santa waving to guests.

Holiday Parades

There are several holiday parades taking place around the Valley:

The 91st Annual Downtown Fresno Christmas Parade is set for Saturday, December 12 at 5 p.m. on Fulton Street. The theme for this year is “A Night at the Drive-in,” so don’t forget the popcorn as you drive past an array of holiday movie-themed spaces along the route. Only vehicles may enter the street where the drive-through parade takes place.

Reedley’s holiday lane “Miracle on G Street” will be held Saturday, November 28 from 7-9 p.m. in the city’s downtown area. The entrance will be at North Avenue and Frankwood Avenue. Visitors must remain in their cars.

The city of Merced is holding its very first Reverse Christmas Parade December 5 at 5 p.m. on Main Street. This event is drive-thru only — organizers ask that visitors do not come on foot.

Clovis has called off its annual Children’s Electric Christmas Parade this year because of pandemic. Organizers posted a message on the event’s official website that reads in part, “After much deliberation with City of Clovis staff, we could not arrange for a safe parade this year due to the current and uncertain future of COVID-19 safety precautions.”

Visalia’s 75th Annual Candy Cane Lane Parade has also been cancelled this year. Organizers expect the parade to return next season.

Other Christmas Light Displays 

2764 West Dovewood Lane in northwest Fresno is a home covered in flashing Christmas lights — 11,425 of them, to be exact. It opened earlier in November.  Home owner Jordan Willis began working on the display in May. He’s set up a Facebook page called ‘Lights on Dovewood‘ so people can keep up with the latest information.

The Fresno Chaffee Zoo is offering its annual “ZooLights” celebration beginning Friday. The event runs from 5 – 8 p.m. on the following dates: Nov. 27 – 29, Dec. 4 – 6, Dec. 11 – 16, Dec. 18 – 23 and Dec. 26 – 30. The entire zoo is transformed for the event into a winter wonderland, fully decorated and strung with miles of holiday lights. Tickets range from $7-$12.

In Merced, “Christmas Lights on Sunset Drive” starts on Friday and runs through Jan. 1. The annual home light show can be seen at 252 Sunset Drive. The Christmas lights are in sync with music played on 107.7 FM.

In the Visalia area, the “Robbins Ranch Free Christmas Light Drive Thru” is taking shape at 1760 N. Belmont Road in Exeter. Organizers have been posting on their Facebook page their goal is to open on Friday. “The Robbins Ranch Elves have been hard at work preparing the 2020 drive thru light display,” the post said.

And Bakersfield station KGET-TV reports that HolidayLights at CALM is set to open to the public this weekend. It’s a mile-long winding path through the California Living Museum’s parking lot. The event begins on Saturday and will run every night, except Christmas, through Jan. 2 from 5:30 – 9 p.m. each night. The entrance to HolidayLights will be on Lake Ming Road near the Lake Ming boat ramps. Tickets are $30 per vehicle and must be purchased in advance.

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