Every holiday season, several neighborhoods around Seattle go to mesmerizing lengths to decorate not only their homes’ interiors, but also lavishly garnish their exteriors with illuminating lights and dazzling displays that can often be seen from several blocks away.
There is one specific portion of a neighborhood that has a tradition of decorating so spellbinding that people from all corners of the Emerald City and the vicinity deliberately embark on a pilgrimage to visit and admire the holiday spectacle featuring approximately 25 houses on one street.
Known as Park Road for the first 11 months of the year, this very quaint street could easily be overlooked or fleeting if one doesn’t live on this particular street in the Ravenna neighborhood. However, during the month of December — for more than seven decades — Park Road recreates itself into Candy Cane Lane, and the street sparkles so brightly that it is very difficult to ignore. One could say Park Road comes out of hibernation every December and undergoes a transformation that captures attention throughout the Seattle metropolitan area.
This month, I took some time to visit Candy Cane Lane. Interestingly, I have also been guilty of not paying much attention to this collection of attractive abodes, most of which are roughly a century in age. I have ridden my bicycle along the expanse of Park Road a few times — a distance of a whopping one-tenth of a mile — not realizing this same sleepy enclave is the notoriously popular and flashy Candy Cane Lane at the end of the year!
Essentially, this annual tradition involves, both humorously and chaotically, a large portion of Seattle’s populace descending upon one street during the holiday season. As a result, it’s not unusual for cars driving through the area to inadvertently create their own parade of headlights and taillights in addition to families walking by each house to admire its respective display.
Admittedly, what I found most heartwarming was observing children marvel at the sights of Candy Cane Lane. That being said, there is something for everyone on this street, regardless of age. Some houses feature renowned characters from the canon of Christmas stories and cartoons, from the Grinch to the Nutcracker, from Frosty the Snowman to Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.
I also enjoyed that each house sported a sign that featured the word “Peace” printed in red letters in different languages. Indeed, the phrase “Peace on Earth” seems to resonate more and more in contemporary times.
As I made my way down the Lane to capture different scenes as a pedestrian, a few people in their cars took some moments of their time to greet me. Since most drivers were waiting for the car in front of them to proceed, a few of them decided to strike friendly conversations with pedestrians walking faster than they could drive. One driver stopped next to me and asked whether I had a business card. Before I could respond, he proceeded to offer me a slice of pizza that he and (presumably) his girlfriend were sharing. I smiled at the gesture, as it was so unusual to me, and politely declined. After I handed him my business card, his girlfriend stated, “Can’t wait to see your work. It’s so refreshing to see there’s at least one person here who’s taking photos without a cellphone! Happy Holidays!”
Although a fine compliment, I shuddered internally at the thought of photographers using professional dSLR cameras in public spaces being considered rare, antiquated relics of the art form. May that never become a reality! I obtain a lot of pleasure setting up my cameras and tripods to execute long exposures during my night photography excursions such as Candy Cane Lane. Using a cellphone to capture a night shot just isn’t the same. Perhaps that was the point the driver’s girlfriend was trying to convey after I had rejected the slice of pizza.
I hope you enjoy the images. You can view more holiday images of Seattle here.