Crowds flock to experience Cedar City’s ‘Christmas Lane’ on opening night

CEDAR CITY — A crowd estimated at more than 2,000 people flocked to the “Christmas Lane” event on opening night in Cedar City Friday.

A giant inflatable Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer adorns a lawn during the season’s opening night of the festively decorated “Christmas Lane” neighborhood, Cedar City, Utah, Nov. 24, 2017 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News

“It was huge! Unprecedented!” exclaimed organizer Kim Almond, who started the event in 2011 and said it has grown in popularity each year since then.

The streets of the residential subdivision tucked away in the northeast corner of Cedar City were blocked off for opening night only, enabling families to leisurely walk along Christmas Lane. Friday’s weather was pleasantly calm with temperatures a bit unseasonably warm, but folks still lined up for free cups of hot cocoa and cider to sip as they strolled along.

A few bonfires in barrels lined the sidewalks, one of which had marshmallows and roasting sticks. A string quartet and carolers from the Canyon View High School Madrigals provided live Christmas music.

A string quartet performs Christmas music during the season’s opening night of the festively decorated “Christmas Lane” neighborhood, Cedar City, Utah, Nov. 24, 2017 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News

About midway through, Santa and Mrs. Claus sat on a bench in the middle of a cul-de-sac, taking time to visit with young children and pose for photos.

The visit with Santa was a highlight for the Paul and Bethany Allen family of Cedar City, who made their third annual visit to Christmas Lane.

“We love coming up here,” said Paul Allen as he pushed two of his daughters in a stroller while Bethany carried the couple’s third daughter, Ember, only one week old, for her first-ever public outing.

Young sisters play amid spots of light on a lawn during the season’s opening night of the festively decorated “Christmas Lane” neighborhood, Cedar City, Utah, Nov. 24, 2017 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News

The 32 or so homes that are part of this year’s tour feature a wide range of holiday decorations, with the common thread being that each featured home has a painted wooden sign with a couple lines from Clement C. Moore’s famous poem, “A Visit from St. Nicholas,” also known as “Twas the Night Before Christmas.” Numbers on the bottom of each sign helpfully guide readers through the poem. Four additional signs at the end of the tour jokingly refer to the night after Christmas.

Friday’s walk-through tour was the only pedestrian-friendly night to enjoy Christmas Lane. Starting Saturday and going each evening through Dec. 31, the decorated homes can be viewed from vehicles driving through the neighborhood.

Almond said she got the inspiration for Christmas Lane from her late aunt LuAna Mothershead, who lived in a similarly decorated neighborhood in Taylorsville when Almond was growing up.

Neighbors take photos of one another while serving cups of hot cocoa and cider during the season’s opening night of the festively decorated “Christmas Lane” neighborhood, Cedar City, Utah, Nov. 24, 2017 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News

“I loved going to her house, especially at Christmas. Even as a teenager, we still loved driving through Christmas Street,” Almond said. “When I became a mom, I loved taking my kids. When I moved into this neighborhood 12 years ago, I thought it was the perfect place to do our own Christmas Lane. So, in 2011, the idea grew into a reality.”

After Mothershead died in 2013, Almond said her family painted a Christmas-themed sign to add to their front lawn decorations and dedicated it as a tribute to “Aunt Banana.”

Cedar City’s Christmas Lane tour starts where the Knoll Drive roundabout connects to Fairview Drive, near 1300 North and about 450 East. Then, from the spot where Fairview Drive meets Canyon View Drive, the tour goes in a counterclockwise direction along the four connected streets of the subdivision, shown on this Google map.

Click on photo to enlarge it, then use your left-right arrow keys to cycle through the gallery.

Email: jrichards@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.

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