It's another parade weekend in Long Beach and the 66th Annual Daisy Avenue Christmas Tree Lane Parade — more simply the Daisy Lane Christmas Parade— is strolling through Wrigley Saturday evening.
Daisy Lane’s own “Mother of Christmas Tree Lane,” Maria Norvell, said that she’s excited for another year of holiday festivities.
“I’ve been the parade chair for the last 31 years and it’s always special,” Norvell said.
The parade's origins goes back to 1953, when resident Gertrude Whittle petitioned to have railroad tracks removed from Daisy Lane, as well have trees planted and a nativity scene constructed for a festive event in the neighborhood.
Whittle's petitioning paid off and soon the parade became an annual holiday tradition. It continued to grow, and neighbors began decorating their homes and the Daisy Avenue median as Christmas Tree Lane.
In the mid-1970s, the parade took a hiatus. But in 1988, Norvell and the Wrigley Association began efforts to revitalize the parade and Daisy Lane decorations.
"Everything you have seen on that lane, like the theater, the city hall, the Bank of America, the old women in the shoe — all of those displays have been in my home, and I have painted or my family has painted them," she said. "That's why I'm so dedicated to Christmas Tree Lane. It's our tradition here in Wrigley."
She also has been working year round on a petition for upgraded electrical and irrigation, as well as for the city to replant more trees. Three years ago, the city removed about 28 cedar Christmas trees from the Daisy Lane median that had died from lack of water.
"Next year, the city will replant trees, so we will have them for the 2020 parade," she said "So I'm really happy this year we've already got stuff done for next year."
Norvell and her team have been setting up for the parade for the last two weeks. They're at the home stretch now, she said, adding that it's a job that can't be done without the parade's many volunteers.
"I just can't thank the volunteers enough, especially my right hand man Jim Trout," Norvell said. "They help me keep it (this parade) alive and I want to be able to do that for as long as I can."
Aside from the parade, the spectators can walk around the neighborhood and check out the decorated homes. Judging for the homes will take place around 7 p.m. and hot chocolate and cookies will be available thanks to Seventh District Councilman Roberto Uranga's office.
Parking in the area is limited to the neighborhood streets. Organizers suggest carpooling or taking alternative transportation, like an Uber, Lyft, Yellow Cab of Long Beach (rideyellow.com) or by using the city bus to avoid parking woes.
"I am excited every year for it because it’s a great community parade," Uranga, said. "The participation has always been fantastic from groups that want to get out there and show off their best, which makes it fun to watch."
The 66th Annual Daisy Avenue Christmas Tree Lane Parade begins at 5 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 14, along Daisy Lane between Pacific Coast Highway and Hill Street.
For more information, go to longbeach.gov/district7/community/projects/daisy-lane-parade.
Stephanie Stutzman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.