Candy Cane Lane is not the name of the street, but it has been the Christmas alias for a small section of El Segundo for 70 years.
Santa Claus, atop a city fire engine, will "light" each home, yard and tree on Candy Cane Lane—the 1200 block of East Acacia Avenue—in El Segundo at 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14.
But really, the residents decorate the houses themselves. The event is completely coordinated by community members, said Jackie Day, special event specialist for El Segundo. The city's only role is traffic and parking control.
Bob Turnbull, who has decorated his home on Candy Cane Lane since 1997, said everyone gathers on opening night at the corner of Acacia Avenue and California Street to follow Santa to the end of the cul-de-sac. Canned food donations will be collected at the end of the block, he said.
This year, Candy Cane Lane is starting "the latest it could ever occur," Turnbull said. It's always the second Saturday in December, he added, but with such a late Thanksgiving 2019, an influx of visitors showed up last weekend already expecting to see the light show.
Police two years ago started also closing off traffic to the 1100 block of Acacia Street during some nights of the event to wrangle the increasing crowd and prevent littering. Last year's Candy Cane Lane proved the extra security measures are working.
"We have people all year-round (trying to visit) because of social media," Turnbull said. That’s why I think residents of neighboring streets complained to the police department, having it take a look at traffic control and trash, he added.
A homeowner, Ken Bailey, birthed the South Bay holiday tradition in 1949 by putting up a lit Christmas tree at the end of the cul-de-sac on the 1200 block of East Acacia. These days, thousands of people walk several blocks from their cars to see the intricately decorated neighborhood, towing their tots along by wagon or stroller. Some residents make their adorned homes more interactive with movies, music or holiday treats.
The community can mosey down Candy Cane Lane every night from 7 to 9 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14 through Monday, Dec. 23. Some houses stay lit all night, Turnbull said, but the street must be quiet by 10 p.m.