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Holiday L.A.: A City of Lights

A Sampling of the Area's Best-Dressed Neighborhoods and Spectacular Seasonal Displays.

December 17, 1996|CECILIA RASMUSSEN | Times Staff Writer


* 1960 Mendocino Lane: Like a community castle, the 1922 Mediterranean-style mansion owned by ice cream magnate George Balian, at the fork of Mendocino Lane and Glenview Terrace, sits majestically aglow with thousands of lights. The display will be lighted through Jan. 1.

* Christmas Tree Lane: Thousands of visitors' cars--with their headlights off--drive through what looks like an electrically enchanted forest of 111-year-old cedars, towering 100 feet high along a one-mile stretch of Santa Rosa Avenue between Woodbury Road and Altadena Drive. The lights are on through Jan. 1.


* 9463 Sunset Blvd.: As they have for 15 years, the residents create a monument as they outline the contours of the mansion with single strands of lights. They also plant poles in their yard and turn them into pyramids of lights to create a forest of glittering Christmas trees.


* 278 E. Providencia Ave., 4136 Hood Ave. and 513, 529 and 1119 N. Florence St.: Every year for 14 years, the Burbank Civic Pride Committee seeks the best-dressed homes in its annual Holiday Outdoor Decorating Contest. This year, 10 winners were chosen for their spectacular displays featuring music and animation and a canopy of lights. Other winners are at 730 Clybourn Ave., 415 N. Catalina St., 2009 W. Chandler Blvd., 2001 Richard St. and 3500 Viewcrest Drive.


* Castle Place, Kings Row Avenue and Arabella Place: With a flip of a switch, more than 30 households bring the holiday spirit to a stretch of Cerritos in the form of thousands of tiny colored lights. Holiday decorations include carousel-type horses, sleighs, Nativity scenes, lights, reindeer and angels. Even the trees that line the street are wrapped with aluminum foil and spirals of plastic ribbon.


* 1500 E. Duarte Road: The City of Hope sparkles with 140,000 white lights adorning trees along the entry to the hospital campus. "The City of Lights" is the largest display of its type ever staged at the hospital. Lights stay on through Jan. 1.


* 4364 York Blvd.: For 37 years, the Meltons, now in their 70s, have kept the holiday magic alive in their front yard with thousands of lights, Santa riding an old-fashioned bike with a big front wheel, a 10-foot angel and a Nativity scene. Mr. Melton plays Santa on Friday and Saturday from 7 to 8 p.m.


* 1105 Jarrow Ave.: Deck the halls and cul-de-sac with a snow-covered lawn, toy soldiers, Santa Claus and a Nativity scene, wishing passersby a merry Christmas at Gale and Jarrow avenues.


* 276 Windsor Blvd.: An invitingly chaotic display includes two full-sized sleighs filled with oversized gift boxes. Larger-than-life figures of children, dogs, deer and rabbits, along with Christmas trees and a small creche, decorate the northeast corner of Windsor and 3rd Street.

* 301 Rimpau Blvd.: About seven blocks farther west along 3rd Street, sightseers come upon two giant Nativity scenes, Christmas trees, deer, candy canes and figures of Santa, carolers and snowmen.


* 4117 W. 138th St.: Gary and Dottie Williams are the talk of the town with the 11-foot Ferris wheel on their front lawn. A 3-foot Santa turns the light-covered wheel, which has stuffed animals for passengers. Also in the yard are a 6-foot Santa and his workshop, a model train, lighted sleighs, reindeer, a musical carousel with four horses, and 25,000 lights. A 22-foot Christmas tree stands atop a two-story garage.


* 3rd, 4th and 5th avenues and Hardy Street: Twenty arches of metal and plastic piping are decorated with red and silver garlands entwined with lights in an area bordered by West Century and Crenshaw boulevards, Arbor Vitae Street and Van Ness Avenue. Most residents have sprayed their yards with fake snow and put up decorations, including Nativity scenes and life-size Santas and reindeer.


* 4951 Indianola Way: Every Christmas for the past six years, teenager Robert Illian has plugged in thousands of lights, a 15-foot Ferris wheel, a gondola that transports stuffed animals to the roof and back, a hot-air balloon and a sleigh that teeters on the edge of the roof. Meanwhile, his parents stand by, watching their electric meter spin.

* 1418 Descanso Drive: For Christmas, Descanso Gardens turns on its Fantasy Light Show. Thousands of lights adorn the five-acre display while musicians perform in the Educational Pavilion, Wednesdays through Sundays from 5 to 8 p.m. through Dec. 29, except on Christmas and rainy or windy nights. Admission is $3 for adults, $1.50 for children 12 and under, or free if they bring a flashlight to be part of the show. (818) 952-4401.


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