‘Candy Cane Lane’ in Cathedral City returns with some new COVID-19 modifications

By Brian Blueskye | Desert Sun

Cathedral City homeowner Issac Lopez says he returns to his Minerva Road home every year from San Francisco at the end of November to decorate the house and yard for the annual neighborhood lights display Candy Cane Lane.

While standing in his garage on Monday morning, he pointed to decorations on his lawn accumulated over the past three years — reindeer and Santa’s sleigh, penguins, a unicorn and Christmas-themed pink flamingos 

“My partner loves flamingos,” Lopez said. 

Lopez spent Sunday night zip-tying his decorations, including snowmen and a Santa Claus, to stakes installed in the grass. He admits to not being a “handy person” and fell off a ladder three years ago while installing decorations. His gardener, Juan Barbosa, helped install the wreath over his garage and Christmas lights on the house. 

The Candy Cane Lane tradition has been going for 30 years on Minerva Road, a small street of 46 homes accessible from Tachevah Drive, and annually draws thousands of visitors. In the past, revelers have driven or walked down the street while it’s lighted up at night. 

Residents are known for depicting scenes such as Mrs. Claus and Santa Claus and elves working in a toy shop. In 2014, resident John Elliott was inspired by the movie “Frozen” as the theme for his decorations.

Cara Van Dijk, another resident of Minerva Road, said homeowners work at decorating their homes through early to mid-December. 

But this year visitors can expect things to be different. 

Van Dijk said some homeowners are not participating or only decorating their houses and not their lawns. It’s uncertain if decorations hung over the street — known as “swags” — will go up because residents who allow them to be plugged into their homes are going dark. 

“For as long as Candy Cane Lane has existed, it’s been completely voluntary for any of the residents,” Van Dijk said. “There are years where the whole street is lit up, and this year I would say we will most likely not have the overhangs, or ‘swags’ as we call them.'”

This year, visitors are encouraged to stay in their cars or practice social distancing and wear masks while walking down the street. 

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