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Saugus neighborhood comes together for decorating, serving community

Lights, holidays, action!

Posted: December 5, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: December 5, 2012 2:00 a.m.

Mark Young is collecting donations at his home to benefit the Bridge to Home shelter.

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In December, residents of one small Saugus neighborhood know it’s nearly impossible to leave their homes during the evening.

Wakefield Court, off Copper Hill Drive in Saugus, boasts 39 of its 41 homes awash in lights, handmade decorations and holiday cheer.

The popularity of its light display attracts hundreds of cars and thousands of viewers.

New Wakefield Court resident John Lite and his fiancee are celebrating their first Christmas on the street. The couple moved there in March.

“We were driving the area looking at lights last year. I never knew this street was here,” Lite said. “We just loved it. We decided we wanted to live here. In January, we found this house for rent so here we are. We love Christmas.”

Tim Archer, known to fellow residents as “the mayor of Wakefield Court,” said the street began its “extreme” holiday light tradition after the 1994 Northridge earthquake.

After the residents “bonded” because of the earthquake, the first strands of lights were hung the following Christmas, said Archer.

“It just grew from there,” he said. “You can point to any house on this street and I know the names of the adults who live there. There aren’t many streets like that around anymore.”

Every year, residents try to add new items to the street. This year, Santa and his reindeer will soar overhead as cars creep down the street, which is bounded by cul-de-sacs on each end.

More important to the residents than sharing the street’s spectacle is the effort to collect toys and donations for charity.

A “Toy Express” at one end of the street chugs steam and offers visitors several bins in which to deposit donated toys to benefit the children of Boys & Girls Club of Santa Clarita Valley.

“We started donating the toys to the Boys & Girls Club two years ago to make sure that the toys stayed in the Santa Clarita Valley,” said Archer.

Across the street at the home of Mike and Erin Halverson, residents since 2002, daughters Ashley, 14, Katie, 13, Emily, 10 and Sydney, 9, will sell mistletoe for $1 a bunch to benefit the Gentle Barn, an animal rescue and sanctuary in Canyon Country.

Last year, the girls raised nearly $500 for the Gentle Barn.

At the other end of the street, in front of the home of Mark and Sherry Young, is a donation box for the Bridge to Home Shelter that offers emergency shelter to the homeless in the Santa Clarita Valley.

“Every year, we’ve raised a few thousand dollars for the shelter with this donation box,” said Mark Young.

Archer encourages guests to walk the street on foot.

“You get an entirely different perspective when you see the street by foot,” he said. “You get the ambiance of the true holiday spirit when you walk the street.”

Archer said no one has calculated how many lights blaze along the street, but he does know that 1,000 to 1,200 cars travel the street’s two short blocks on busy weekend nights in December.

Halverson said the street isn’t “just a light show.” “There’s a purpose for what we’re doing,” she said. “It’s to get people who drive down the street to drop a toy in the bin, to put a few bucks in the homeless shelter collection, there’s a purpose for it.”



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