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Where are Fresno’s best Christmas light displays?

GMK FXMASLIGHTS10(2)‘Tis the season. To go out in the freezing cold and see a city’s worth of Christmas light displays (OK, you can probably stay in your heated car for most of it). In past year’s, The Beehive has put together some handy-dandy lists so you can easily find the best spots in town. When Mike Oz left, he took some of that with him as institutional knowledge (although we still have his posts). But you Beehivers must have your own thoughts about which are the best? So, let’s hear it. We know the old standbys. Do they continue to shine (pun intended). Have you seen anyplace new this year? What’s the trend this season? Anything noticeable?

Do This! The 2012 Fresno Synced Christmas Light Tour

All right, Christmas-light chasers, we’ve reached the time of the year where you’re hunting for colorful displays. Like in years past, we’ve put together a guide to houses that do something a little different — they create dancing lights shows set to music.

Inspired by that viral video turned Miller Lite, these tech-savvy homeowners add a different element to light-looking. Something beyond Christmas Tree Lane and Cindy Lane. This is more like a choose-your-own-adventure outing, where the family piles into the car and criss-crosses the city to watch these shows one at a time. There’s no official map or organization behind the displays. We’ve tracked the houses the past few years. But the light shows come and go, depending on the year. So feel free to send us updates! Look below for a Google Map.

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Do this! The 2011 Fresno Synced Christmas Light Tour

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As promised, here’s this year’s list of local houses with their Christmas light shows synced to music.

If you’re new to this: It makes for a good self-guided tour for Christmas-light seekers. The houses are like the one in that famous Miller Lite commercial. Each show is about 10 minutes. You tune your car stereo into the specific station and watch the lights dance. It’s free, fun and local.

If you enjoyed the list last year, here’s a word for you: Two of the last year’s houses aren’t doing it this year, but tell me they hope to return in 2012. However, this is a new house on the list (the last one).

In the Oz Household, we find that this makes a nice addition to our annual outing to Cindy Lane and Christmas Tree Lane. Enjoy!

[photos: Craig Kohlruss / The Fresno Bee]

Five Things You Should Do This Weekend

Other than buying me a Lexus

1. GO SEE SOME CHRISTMAS LIGHTS
OK, so maybe some thugs ruined Christmas Tree Lane for ya this year, but there’s still the great display at Cindy Lane (below, my personal fave), the synced light displays (I’m mapping it out for you later today), Zoo Lights, Holiday Fun in the Tower or just whatever’s in your neighborhood.

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To-Do Tonight: Get in the Christmas spirit

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Christmas explodes all over your to-do list tonight, with happenings both of the music and non-music variety:

The Fresno Synced Christmas Light Tour

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This weekend, I’m preparing for my annual outing to look at Christmas lights with my wife. Over the years, our tour has grown and changed — but we usually start at Christmas Tree Lane and finish in Clovis at Cindy Lane.

One recent addition to the list is the houses that synchronize their light displays to music.They use low-power FM transmitters to stream music to a radio station. Then passers-by tune in to listen to Christmas music while watching the light show.

This sorta thing grew in popularity after Miller Lite ran a commercial with a light display synced to a Trans Siberian Orchestra song. There are five houses locally doing it that I know about — including the one pictured above at 6047 N. Winchester Ave.

If you’re looking for something new to add to your light-looking journey, you could make your own tour:

Of note this weekend: The house on Citadel Avenue will be collecting money for the Marjaree Mason Center on Friday and Saturday. Volunteers will be out there serving up hot chocolate, and money raised goes to the local domestic violence shelter.

Below is a video (not shot by me) from the Sierra Avenue house.

[photo: Carrie Zulewski]

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Where do you look at Christmas lights?

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“Outside of Christmas Tree Lane, there’s nothing too Christmas-y in Fresno.” I read that on a local blog the other day and was a bit perplexed. I’ve always thought of Fresno as a city that loves to celebrate the season. Especially with Christmas light displays. Maybe we just need a good list of them.

We all know about local fixtures such as Christmas Tree Lane (the second and final walking night is tonight, FYI) and Huntington Blvd, but the last few years I’ve been out looking for other options too.

  • My favorite is the area some people call Cindy Lane (pictured above) off of Alluvial Ave., between Peach and Willow in Clovis. To me, and others will disagree, it blows Christmas Tree Lane out of the water. Here’s a blog post with pics from a past visit.
  • Last weekend, I discovered a house at 1150 E. Sierra Ave. (just east of First St.) that has an awesome synchronized light and music display. You tune your car radio to 95.1 FM and there’s a 10-minute set of music that the lights flicker along to. Here’s a video from a past year, you’ll have to disregard all the talking. I talked to the owner of the house for a column that will appear in Friday’s paper and he gave me a few other houses in town that set up similar displays:

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Weekend Rewind: Upon Further Revue

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Well folks, Monday is here again. How’d you spend your weekend? Getting in the Christmas spirit? Avoiding the mall at all costs? Braving the rain to hit the town? Here’s a little of what I did this weekend. Add your own adventures in the comments.

SATURDAY
- Me and Wifealicious decided to check out some Christmas lights. None of the big stuff, just some neighborhoods I’d heard about, and we were pleasantly surprised at what we found. Expect another post on this subject soon, but I will say that the house on Sierra Ave. with the lights set to music is EPIC.

- Headed over to Revue for Patrick Contreras‘ Christmas concert. While the music was great (Steve Ono joined him on guitar, and Jason Williams was on percussion) and the place was packed, I was mostly taken aback by Revue’s amazing new theater space. Wow. I know I was supposed to be listening to Christmas music and thinking about the season, but all I could think about was the many awesome potential uses for that space — music, comedy, poetry, films, Rogue Festival? I think it’s a good fit for any and all of that. I’ll be very eager to see what happens there.

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