People strolled down the sidewalk and cars ambled down the street of Wakefield Court, gazing at the millions of lights in front of each house.
Sunday signaled the beginning of the Wakefield Winter Wonderland lighting display, which is classified as a museum on Google, and members of the public already began to marvel at the lights, eager to get into the holiday spirit. This year, the neighborhood had a “Night Before Christmas” theme, complete with plaques in front of some houses featuring text from the classic story.
Todd McHenry has visited the Winter Wonderland for eight years and said he discovered the displays while looking for something similar to Candy Cane Lane in Woodland Hills.
“I grew up with Christmas lights as a tradition as a child, so it’s fun seeing these displays,” McHenry said. “I’ve enjoyed seeing how the displays grow and change each year.”
Dana Weiltz has been participated in the Winter Wonderland lighting display since 1995, but said that she decided to change things up this year and decorate to a theme, “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer & the Island of Misfit Toys.”
“It’s a wonderful experience living on this street and seeing people so excited all the time,” Weiltz said. “We don’t need to leave our neighborhood on the weekend since we have fire pits here and we know all our neighbors, so there’s always a gathering somewhere. I get a lot of pleasure seeing the happiness the lights bring people each year, and looking at my neighbors’ lights I feel like I have to better each year.”
Ray Arroyo‘s display featured a “Merry Christmas” marquee, a light-up LED tree and a large Oakland Raiders sign on his driveway. He said that he has been lighting up his house for the past 13 years and finds a way to change it up each year.
“Everyone has a way to make the lights their own, like sports fans or pop culture fans, and some people take a total of 24 hours to put up their lights,” he said. “I’ve seen everyone from little kids to 80-year-olds come through and say wow. It’s a family friendly atmosphere where you don’t have to go into your wallet to enjoy a Christmas event and smile for free.”
Joyce Ocab and her family came to see the lights for the second time in five years and said that the scale of the Wakefield displays and the sense of community are far better than others she’s seen.
“I have seen a lot of other Christmas displays and they’re nice, but this is on such a grand scale,” she said. “I’m planning on coming later on this season because some of the houses aren’t decorated yet and we can see some of the people are still decorating now. So much of the time, people are arguing about politics or other things, so it’s nice to just get away and appreciate the happiness of the season.”