Residents living along the whole stretch of the block have their homes decked out with decorative and colorful lights on display for the holiday season until Christmas Eve.
That’s when the lights are replaced by luminarias, or small paper lanterns, to mark Christmas.
“It’s a family tradition,” said Dixie Smith, who with her husband Dee has lived in the neighborhood for the past 35 years. While putting up the Christmas lights can be a bit of a chore, Smith said it’s something that has drawn the participation of all who live on Sunset Drive.
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“We know of people who want to live here because of the street,” Smith said.
While other residential blocks have homes that sporadically show off their Yuletide spirit, Sunset Drive is perhaps known as the one block where every home is decorated with Christmas lights.
Gary Wyatt, the District 4 Imperial County Supervisor, is a resident who couldn’t recall a time during his years growing up in Brawley when Sunset Drive was not decorated for the Christmas season.
He wasn’t sure exactly when the Christmas displays started, but Wyatt believes it may have gotten its start during the 1960s.
Now, as a homeowner on the block for the past 11 years, Wyatt is only too happy to partake of a communal tradition where even vacant homes are also decorated by someone for the holiday, he said.
“It will always be lit up by someone,” Wyatt said of any Sunset Drive home that is unoccupied. “We’ve been doing it for many, many years.”
Jerry Seals, who has lived on the block for the past 35 years, recalled the time when the neighborhood was adorned with trees that were decorated with lights along the block.
People who moved in the block quickly got with the program as soon as the Christmas season rolled around, Seals said.
“The new people who go in go along with it,” Seals said of his neighborhood.
“Everyone seems to keep up with the spirit. It’s a real nice neighborhood,” Seals said. “It’s quiet. Except for football games.”
Staff Writer Silvio J. Panta can be reached at 760-337-3442 or at firstname.lastname@example.org