Altadena’s Christmas Tree Lane actually celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2020, but that was a drive-thru event only. This Saturday, Dec. 10, the Christmas Tree Lane Association will finally conduct its 100th Lighting Ceremony in person, accompanied by a Winter Festival, as the ceremony used to be before the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Winter Festival, open to all ages, begins at 3 p.m. and will feature delicious food and beverages and goods from local arts and crafts vendors. When the lights go on at 6 p.m., the entire family can stroll beneath Altadena’s world-famous lights – and take photos and videos for posterity.
Standing on both sides of Santa Rosa Ave., between Woodbury Avenue and Altadena Drive in Altadena, are about 150 Deodar trees that were planted from seeds that the founders of Altadena, John P. and Frederick J. Woodbury, brought from Italy in 1885. The trees were intended to be a grand mile-long driveway entrance to John Woodbury’s mansion. The mansion never was built, but the trees thrived. That “driveway” became Santa Rosa Ave.
In December 1920, department store owner Frederick C. Nash organized the first tree-lighting spectacle along a one-fourth mile section of Santa Rosa, so shoppers can see his store. From that time on, the tree-lighting has been expanded to light the entire row of deodars; the spectacle was to become one of the most celebrated Los Angeles area traditions.
Today, Altadena’s Christmas Tree Lane is recognized as the oldest large-scale outdoor Christmas display in the world, with up to 10,000 lights strung up on the trees every year. Christmas Tree Lane is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and designated as a California State Landmark.
On Saturday, County Supervisor Kathryn Barger will head the switch-on ceremony outside the Altadena Public Library near the intersection of Santa Rosa Ave. and Mariposa Street. U.S. Congresswoman Judy Chu, State Senator Anthony Portantino and State Assemblyman Chris Holden are also expected to be in attendance, along with city officials and other dignitaries.
Live music will be provided by the Altadena and Elliot Magnet Arts Schools combined choir starting at 3 p.m., supported by the John Muir High School Band. Members of the Nutcracker Suite Ballet Troupe who are performing in Pasadena will also be there.
The Christmas Tree Lane Association is providing complimentary spiced hot cider, coffee and cocoa throughout the event. Food vendors and food trucks will be selling budget gourmet onsite as well.
Be advised that some roads nearby will be closed as early as 9 a.m., so plan your visit accordingly.
For more information, call (626) 403-1123 or visit www.christmastreelane.net.