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Street lights, and where’s Rudolph?

Essex Place takes bragging rights to annual Holiday Light Tour ‘Best Street in the SCV’

Posted: December 11, 2008 7:33 p.m.
Updated: December 12, 2008 4:55 a.m.

Children gather to serenade the judges during the annual block party on Essex Place.

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There's no question that Wakefield Court is the 800-pound gorilla of street light-decorating in the Santa Clarita Valley.

Since 1995 Wakefield Court has been named The Signal's Holiday Light Tour Street champs no less than five times. However, this year, and I don't know if it was the chili, the hot dogs or the cute kids, but Essex Place in Valencia has wrestled the street champion crown from perennial favorite Wakefield Court in Saugus.

1. Essex Place aka "Reindeer Road"
I'm a sucker for reindeer. In addition, the feeling of community on this street is so real you can almost hold it in your hand.

The small street boasts a reindeer theme with each home festival decorated and a painted cutout of one of Santa's reindeer perched in the front lawn. Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer, can be found "wandering" from home to home - a different location each night.

"We have a sign at the end of the street reminding people to find Rudolph before they leave the street," said Jim Madera, one of the Essex Place neighbors.

For first-time Light Tour judge Melissa Gasca the decorated tree in the middle of the street's cul-de-sac was a winner.

"The tree in the middle of the street is so cute and the ‘where's Rudolph' theme was creative and genius," she said.

Every judge also mentioned the awesome chili served up by Marisa Madera during the evening's neighborhood block party but Light Tour judge Daneen Dickey echoed the feeling of all the judges when she wrote on her judging sheet: "The hospitality was warm, friendly and heartfelt."

2. Wakefield Court aka 'Must-See SCV Street'
Wakefield Court lost its sixth Holiday Light Tour crown by only a single point. This is the "must-see" street of the SCV with a street of 41 homes decorated in an explosion of festive color, lights and extreme holiday spirit.

What makes Wakefield Court special is its long tradition of collecting "Toys for Tots."

"We also decided to share toys directly with local organizations in need," said Tim Archer, one of the organizers of the annual street lighting tradition.

Toys will be donated to Single Mothers Outreach and the SCV Boys & Girls Club.

The level of community participation on Wakefield Court is simply amazing - from the giant Santa cap adorning a car on the street to the live band playing on the weekends. Prepare to be stunned, awed and overwhelmed by Christmas on Wakefield Court.

Light Tour judge Gasca described the street as "absolutely spectacular."

"All the homes are uniquely decorated yet interwoven with a ‘The Night Before Christmas' theme," she said.

3. Ash Court
Ash Court, despite their gift of coal to the judges for their early judging schedule, was still a favorite among the judging crew.

"Beautiful traditional decorations, humble and unified," said Judge Gasca.

"This is a neighborly and friendly street," said Light Tour Judge Jim Walker.

Snowflakes dot the street with colorful poinsettias in the process of being painting on the street's surface.
A New Year's Eve wedding will unite two of the street's residents. What can be more beautiful than finding love and the holiday spirit in one place?

Other SCV streets

Clifton Place
Clifton Place in Valencia, cross streets of Decoro and Hillsborough, is the street that will live in infamy after the Scrooge-inspired, lack-of-common-sense-and-holiday-spirit Southern California Edison took down the street's holiday decorations that were attached to the company's light poles. However, Clifton Place rallied and their community spirit remains strong. The candy cane-wrapped light poles may be missing but the many hand-made decorations that grace each home are intact.

Luminaria Lanes
This year makes the fourth annual Luminaria Display for the neighbors on Clearidge Drive, Mansfield Court, Meraweather Place and Essex Place in Valencia's Northbridge Point. Once again, more than 1,000 candle-lit luminaries will light up the night sky from 6-10 p.m. on the following evenings: Dec. 13-14, Dec. 20-21, Dec. 22-25. I give high marks to the residents who set out this massive luminaria display of white candles in plastic milk-jug holders. It is very inspiring.

Brooks Circle
Brooks Circle in Stevenson Ranch can be reached from Poe Parkway. What makes Brooks Circle so unique and different from any other street display in the SCV is the use of colored lights to span from home to home across a lengthy span of the street. Most streets are wedded to the "white light look" but Brooks Circle has broken from the pack and gone for something impressively different.

"The long visual up the street is bright and colorful," said Light Tour Judge Dickey.

Buckhorn/Canterwood
Sarah Phillips said the little cul-de-sac of Canterwood/Cedar Creek in Saugus is a community that really has a great time getting together to put a spectacular view of white icicle lights floating from roof top to roof top.

"It feels like it's snowing," she said. "We have decorated a huge Christmas tree. It is a beautiful sight to see all the houses with white lights and garland. We even have an Old Ford Model A child-size car to take pictures in pulling an old sleigh. You will see us out and about around a cast-iron stove and enjoying time with friends and family. We welcome people to see our special cul-de-sac and hope they enjoy it as much as we do."

Take Copper Hill Drive (past Haskell Canyon), turn right onto Buckhorn (one street before Benz Road) and left on Cedar Creek, then turn onto Canterwood.

 

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