. The line to get into Vista Lane off of 28th Street extends all the way out of the neighborhood, leaving cars stacked up in both directions on Avenue A. What awaits them is a street filled with extravagant light displays, oversized inflatables and an abundance of Christmas spirit.
During the holiday season, this street rebrands itself as Candy Cane Lane, a holiday tradition that has been a Yuma staple dating back to the 1940’s. Though its origins may be obscure, it’s something everyone talks about.
“My grandparents bought this house in the ‘60s and have participating in Candy Cane Lane ever since,” said Kyle Ramsay. “When I took over the house for them roughly five years ago, I knew I had to keep the tradition alive.”
This event is a huge commitment to the residents of Vista Lane, one that they willingly accept. No one person controls the event for the neighborhood; but, once the time comes, everyone knows they’re expected to show up and decorate. They don’t complain or ask for anything except for the people of Yuma to enjoy their time. A few local businesses have even reached out to sponsor and donate money to the residents to elevate the experience this year.
While 2020 has wreaked havoc on the holiday spirit, the homeowners of Vista Lane refused to let the tradition stop this year. Most went above and beyond and started earlier than usual to make sure they have plenty of time for everyone to experience the lights, recognizing that everyone could use an extra boost of positivity and holiday cheer.
“Unfortunately, with the pandemic this year we’ve had to make adjustments, from passing out hot chocolate and candy canes to prepackaged goodie bags with their own mix and candies,” said Ramsay. “But we are lucky that this activity has always been pretty socially distant and something we can still participate in regardless of the pandemic.”
The public certainly has not shied away from participating in the annual tradition as the lines of cars remain long night after night, with stereos blasting Christmas music and eyes pressed up against the windows admiring the displays.
Some members of the community who were driving by expressed their joy in having the Candy Cane Lane open up for the holiday season:
- “It’s my favorite Yuma tradition.”
- “We have to see it every year.”
- “This is something that we all really needed to see this year.”
Is there any downside to the event?
“Oh, it would definitely have to be the clean-up,” Ramsay said. “It’s the worst part of every year taking everything down and storing it after the holiday.”
However, being the keepers of a unique tradition is its own reward.