Neighborhoods celebrate Christmas with lights

2012-12-16T00:00:00Z Neighborhoods celebrate Christmas with lightsBy MARY PICKETT mpickett@billingsgazette.com The Billings Gazette

Several Billings neighborhoods welcome holiday visitors with themed displays or special lighting events:

Candy Cane Lane on the 3000 and 3100 blocks of Avenue E between Rehberg Lane and 32nd Street West and some homes on Judd Circle.

Turn onto Avenue E from Judd Circle and Christmas in all its glory bursts into view. Since 1996, each home displays red-and-white-striped candy canes tied with a green bow. Other lighted features also dazzle the eye: toy soldiers, American flags, snowmen, Santas, illuminated trees and bushes and an angel flapping her wings in flight.

Christmas Wreath Lane on Avenue D from the 1900 block to Rose Park.

Generations of Billings families have made an annual trip to Avenue D to see one of the longest-running neighborhood Christmas displays. Each house has an oversized, homemade wreath with a large candle in the center. Many homeowners also add lights along the eaves and Christmas figures such as a gingerbread man, angel or snowman.

Some families on the 1800 block of Avenue D also join the neighborhood event.

Lights are on every evening, 5-10 p.m. through Dec. 29.

Luminarias on the 1700 block of Mariposa Lane and 1800 blocks of North and South Mariposa. Turn west onto Mariposa from 17th Street West between Colton Boulevard and Poly Drive. Drive a loop along the 1700 block of Mariposa then onto North Mariposa. Turn left onto Hoover and then left again onto South Mariposa and back out the 1700 block of Mariposa.

Since 1961, Mariposa Lane residents have lit luminarias at dusk Dec. 24. The tradition was started by a neighborhood boy, Bobby Switzer, who brought the custom from his previous home in New Mexico of setting out candles set in sand-filled bags.

When he was killed in a bicycle accident before Christmas in 1962, neighborhood children placed luminarias at the Switzer home and others nearby. Mariposa Lane residents have continued the tradition every year since.

Thousands of luminarias again will be lit along the streets and driveways this Christmas Eve and burn into the night. The city turns off street lights for one night and residents are asked not to turn on lights inside and outside the front of their homes so the beauty of candle light shines in the night. Visitors also are asked to turn off their car headlights if possible while driving along Mariposa Lane.

Christmas Tree Trail on Crater Lake Avenue from 3600 block to the intersection with Banff.

Take Monad Road and turn north onto 36th Street West. Turn west onto Crater Lake Avenue.

Crater Lake Avenue and connecting streets are the most Christmas-light-dense territory in Billings. On Christmas Tree Trail, residents set out illuminated cutouts of evergreen trees in their yards. Displays range from the elegant with a few lights outlining eaves and roof lines to homes and yards covered with decorations and lights. This year, several homes on Mount Rushmore between South 38th and 37th streets West have colorful lighted arches over their driveways.

Crater Lake dead ends into Glantz Drive, which is Misfit Lane during December.

Misfit Lane on Glantz Drive. Drive west on Central Avenue and turn south onto 37th Street West. Turn left onto Mount Rushmore Avenue, turn right onto Muir Woods and then right onto Glantz.

Characters from the “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” television program once again inhabit Glantz Drive. Each home has one large cutout of a Misfit character such as Rudolph, Sam the Snowman, Hermey the Elf, Yukon Cornelius, the Abominable Snowmonster and King Moonriser.

Whoville at Josephine Crossing in west Billings. Drive south on Mullowney Lane from Interstate 90. Turn east into the development at Elysian Road. Look for the large green Grinch hand pointing the way into the subdivision.

Residents welcome the Grinch and other characters of the Dr. Seuss’ “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.” Handmade wood characters and brightly colored decorations inspired by Seuss decorate nearly every house. Lights are strung across some streets and around porches. Large story boards at the entrance to the subdivision tell how the Grinch stole the Whoville’s Christmas.

The following community organizations also celebrate the season with outdoor displays:

ZooMontana Lights, 2100 S. Shiloh Road.

Visitors drive along a two-mile service road to see “ZooLights," a series of illuminated outdoor figures. It takes 20 to 30 minutes to complete the trip. Figures range from traditional Christmas figures such as a nutcracker and Santa, to a grizzly bear and tiger. Lights will be on Dec. 21-25, 5-9 p.m. The cost is $10 per car, $15 for a van and $20 for a bus.

Moss Mansion, 914 Division St.

White lights outline the sides and roof of the outside of the red sandstone house and decorate two large pine trees.

Inside, 17 trees throughout the house are decorated in a “Christmas Music” theme. Visitors can vote on their favorite tree. This year, the Moss family’s recently discovered ornaments are on display.

The trees will be up through Jan. 3 and can be seen during of daily tours: Sunday and Tuesday-Friday for tours at 1, 2 and 3 p.m. On Saturdays, tours start every hour on the hour 10-3 p.m.

This year candlelight tours are planned at 6, 7 and 8 p.m. Dec. 21, which includes music and refreshments.

Closed Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.

Fireman's Park, Laurel.

For more than 50 years, Laurel firefighters have set up Santa's workshop in the downtown city park. Mechanical elves, built by firemen and their families years ago, saw wood blocks, pump up bicycle tires, work on a rocking horse and tinker with an airplane. Other classic Christmas figures also were made by firemen. Large evergreens are covered with lights. The lighted display will be up through Jan. 1.

Copyright 2014 The Billings Gazette. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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