"A Community of Lights at The Grove," at the Ahwahnee Foursquare Church on Highway 49, opened for Mountain Area residents last Friday and is available for viewing nightly through Dec. 25.
Many cities have a "Candy Cane Lane," where a neighborhood gets together to celebrate Christmas with an audacious display of lights and seasonal displays. House after house are decorated with thousands of lights, the tradition passed on to each new generation of homeowner. Cars line up for hours to crawl through and survey the wondrous display of lights and decorations.
Mountain Area residents can now enjoy a similar, although a tad smaller, Yuletide tradition at The Grove.
"It took about 14 volunteers more than two weeks to set everything up." said Pastor Marc Phillips. "Our goal is to make it bigger every year and I think we've done that. We've got about 40,000 twinkling lights this year, twice as many as last year."
The Grove has taken its two acres and filled them with Christmas decorations.
Candy canes, reindeer, giant ornaments hanging in the trees and a nativity scene are gorgeously lit up. Even the pump house and two large water tanks are decorated.
For the second year in a row, Christmas carols are playing from speakers and on Saturday nights a choir braves the cold to sing classic Christmas songs live.
Coffee, cider and hot chocolate are served beside fire pits and Santa is available for free photos with children and families 5:30-8:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.
Cathie Jensen warmed her hands by the fire.
"We wanted to be a church that gives to the community instead of one that takes from the community," Jensen said. "This is our Christmas gift to the town."
"Children really seem to love it," said Cherissa Wheeler. "It's wonderful to watch the children wander around amazed by all the colors and displays."
Phillips and his wife Barbara intend "A Community of Lights" as an annual event.
Details: The Grove, (559) 683-7911.