Friday, December 15, 2017

Wakefield Winter Wonderland

 Every now and again tragedy strikes either ourselves or someone we know. The aftermath of these tragedies can reshape our lives in a multitude of ways, some better than others. The story of the Wakefield Winter Wonderland is an inspiring tale of how a group of neighbors came together to find the good in an otherwise trying situation.
  In 1994 at 4:30 AM a 6.7 magnitude struck the San Fernando Valley in California. Over 8,700 people were injured in the quake and sadly, 57 people lost their lives. The quake was felt as far away as Las Vegas and caused billions of dollars worth of damage to structures in the area. 
 The Wakefield neighborhood met on the street to see what they could do for one another. They supported each other in disaster and went from only being neighbors to being good friends.
  As the months went by the neighborhood decided that they wanted to continue showing their strength and unity by stringing lights from one house to the other during the holidays. Others suggested that adding yard decorations would improve upon the idea. Built from scrap wood from the L.A. Coliseum, the decorations started to spread up and down the street and you can still see these decorations today. 
 We had heard about Wakefield Winter Wonderland last year and went to find it, but what we didn't realize until this year is that we were in the wrong place. Just a few streets down from Wakefield is a street that is known as Homestead Holidays. Being on that street last year may not have been intentional but it was no less fun. It is, however much smaller than Wakefield. We knew we were in the right place this year when we filed in the long line of vehicles turning into the neighborhood. This line would triple in length by the time left. But driving the street isn't the best way to experience such a wonderful display. The night was warm so we quickly got out of line and found a place on the street to park (2 blocks away) and hoofed it.
  There are over 40 houses in the Wakefield neighborhood and each one has decorated in some fashion. Some are over the top, while others are more subtle. One house even had a large TV set up in the upper windows of the home and had Sunday Night Football playing for all to see. That was interesting to say the least. An interesting side note to this holiday display is that they also take donations to help the local homeless population. It would be interesting to hear how well they did but, much like the display, it has become part of their tradition so they must do very well. 
 Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, you can't deny the beauty of Christmas lights. The Wakefield Winter Wonderland has plenty of those and more. It is probably the largest neighborhood display that I've visited and well worth the time spent with family and friends. 


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