Fremont neighborhood offers elaborate drive-thru holiday display for a good cause

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ByMelissa Pixcar KGO logo
Wednesday, December 23, 2020
Fremont neighbors continue holiday lights tradition for a good cause
Five streets and over 80 homes in a Fremont neighborhood continue their decades-long tradition during the pandemic and it is all for a good cause.

FREMONT, Calif. (KGO) -- Five streets and over 80 homes in a Fremont neighborhood continue their decades-long tradition during the pandemic and it is all for a good cause.

For the past 53 years, a Fremont community has hosted a holiday light show and handcraft pop culture cut-outs made from plywood.

"Crippsmas place is a neighborhood holiday display and fundraiser, started in the 1960s on the street Cripps Place," said Kate Amon, Crippsmas Place Coordinator. "The motto of our Crippsmas Club is for community, charity, and childhood joy, but it is a little different this year."

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A Bay Area apricot orchard transforms into a winter wonderland every year with more than thousands of lights and hundreds of blow molds.

Fremont neighbor Robert Cantley, known as "Spider," started the holiday tradition after losing his mother to Leukemia. The name for the event was inspired by Spider's street name, Cripps Place, and decided to raise funds for the Leukemia Lymphoma Society.

"I felt it was important to continue the tradition of Crippsmas Place because it does so much good," said Amon. "It supports charities, it gets the neighbors to know each other, it makes children happy. It is very family-friendly."

The holiday event will raise donations for six charities: Adopt an Angel, Fremont Family Resource Center, HERS Breast Cancer Foundation, Leukemia-Lymphoma Society, Safe Alternatives to Violent Environments, and Ohlone Humane Society's Wildlife Rehabilitation Center.

Each year, neighbors volunteer their time and their craft to create elaborate life-size plywood cut-outs. The process of filling five streets with plywood cut-outs is a voluntary neighborhood effort.

"We do it throughout the year and we try to put out new stuff," said Elizabeth Haddad, neighbor and creator of the plywood cut-outs. "We select which decorations we are going to create. We all enjoy having this display at the end of the year."

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This year will be different from previous years, the Crippsmas Place Club is encouraging visitors to stay in their cars for health and safety reasons. Unfortunately, there will not be carolers, a visit from Santa, nor passing out of candy canes.

"This is a great community here and just to be part of this is great," said Haddad. "It is very satisfying when we hear from the people say, I use to bring my kids and now I bring my grandkids. That makes all the hard work, worth it."

Lots of hard work and planning happens behind-the-scenes of the Crippsmas Place Club, but the neighborhood looks forward to providing joy and cheer during the holiday season.

"It's like a big family," said Patrick Zhou, Treasurer of the Crippsmas Place Club. "I really love being part of this and also spread the joy to everyone that is coming over."

"During this crazy 2020 pandemic year, I am happy that we will be bringing some festive, safe, joy to people that is sorely needed and it also shows the extent of community," said Amon.

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Crippsmas Place is located on Wellington Place in Fremont and will be open now through Christmas Day from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.

To donate to Crippsmas Place supported charities, visit their website.