Christmas on Euclid

 

Nativity scenes return to Euclid

More than 60 community volunteers turned out Saturday morning to help put up 12 Nativity scenes along the median of Euclid Avenue, continuing a 43-year civic tradition.

 

By 6 a.m. Saturday, volunteers were erecting backdrops and putting up the lights, speakers and figures that by late Saturday afternoon had downtown Ontario decorated with the traditions of Christmas.

Typically set up the Saturday before Thanksgiving, the Nativity scenes will be on display through the first Saturday of the new year.

The display features more than 30 life-size statues depicting the biblical characters said to have been involved in the birth of Jesus Christ, and is an annual holiday attraction in the Inland Valley.

For the community, this is something that is tremendously important, said Tom Burciaga, a member of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce's Board of Directors and yearly organizer of the Nativity scene setup. We're talking tradition, we're talking history. This is something that people have been coming to with their families for years and years. It is really important.

The city's Chamber of Commerce has been funding the annual Nativity scenes for several years, since the city deemed it inappropriate to fund an expression of one particular religion.

Now, instead of just Christian representations, there are displays reflecting a variety of religious traditions, including a Jewish menorah. This is a reflection of the various religious faiths in the Inland Empire as well as an attempt to keep the ACLU happy.

In an effort to minimize the chamber's costs, several different business's involved with the chamber donate storage space each year, and this year a pancake breakfast will be provided for all the volunteers.

Commuters can expect an increase in traffic on Euclid for the next several weeks, as residents from throughout the area make their annual trek to see the display.

This is something that people come from all over to see. Families even pull over, he said, so they can bring their kids over for an up-close view.

In Upland, the Christmas light display starts at the intersection of Foothill and Euclid and trees decorated with lights run the entire length of the center divider down Euclid to the 10 freeway and then continue south till the meet up with the Holliday scenes at G street in Ontario.

I personally can remember riding with my mom and dad down Euclid looking at the light display as early as 1960. I can remember one time in 1974 when several inches of snow fell down to holt, turning the Christmas trees and the nativity scenes into something really special.

I hope you enjoy the lights as much as I and my have done for over 50 years.

Gary Hall the ghostpainter

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