Thousands of Southern Californians flock to this neighborhood to fully transport themselves to a winter wonderland filled with dazzling lights and festive displays.
Since the tragedy of the 1994 Northridge earthquake, the 41 homeowners in Santa Clarita’s Wakefield Court neighborhood have banded together to celebrate the holidays in glowing fashion.
“Wakefield Winter Wonderland” goes all out, giving even the best-illuminated neighborhoods a run for their money.
Visitors can stroll along and enjoy 41 homes completely decked out with thousands of twinkling lights and unique, over-the-top decorations.
“It’s just about giving back to the community and celebrating the holidays together,” Amy Buterbaugh, a Wakefield Court resident, tells KTLA’s John Fenoglio.
Buterbaugh and her family enjoyed the neighborhood lights while riding a golf cart decorated as a fire truck for the occasion. Buterbaugh says she typically begins setting up holiday lights immediately after Halloween.
“It’s a long process, but it’s totally worth it,” she said. “We have so much fun.”
Visitors can either walk or drive along the cul-de-sac to be fully transported to a winter wonderland.
“You see the families sitting outside their houses, so they’re happy to see the people,” said Maria Hurtado, a San Fernando Valley resident.
Hurtado and her family are one of the thousands of visitors from all over Southern California who travel to see the spectacle at Wakefield Court.
“You can feel the holiday spirit around here,” said Hurtado.
“Everything has been great this year,” said Shaun Denes, a Wakefield resident. “Some of the biggest crowds we’ve seen have come around this year, so it’s been great.”
Denes explains the holiday displays are a tradition that emerged from the devastating wake of the 1994 Northridge earthquake.
“There was a bond between the families in dealing with the quake and a couple of the houses getting together and stringing lights across and it just expanded from that,” said Denes. “The lights between each house show the bond between neighbors.”
In 1996, resident Mark Young began asking for donations from the many visitors to benefit “Bridge To Home,” a nonprofit organization that houses the homeless in Santa Clarita.
“Every year we raise anywhere from $2,000 to $12,000 in that box from the folks walking by,” said Young.
Even though the holiday lights will eventually be powered down, the radiant spirit of this neighborhood burns bright all year long.
Those planning to visit Wakefield Winter Wonderland should head over soon as the lights will officially come down on Saturday, Dec. 31.