Since last year, more people have been travelling down Rutland’s Gramiak Road and Mary Court during the month of December.
The streets of light—dubbed Candy Cane Lane—have attempted to put locals in the holiday spirit while also giving back to the community.
It was Candy Cane Lane organizer Damjan Madjar’s early childhood memories in Slovenia that influenced his effort to create one of Kelowna’s newest Christmas traditions.
“Growing up, we didn’t have much money, but the coolest thing was Christmas time. My parents took me around and showed me lights. My sister and I were just astounded by them,” said Madjar.
Madjar has lived in Kelowna since he was six-years-old, but only decided to begin Candy Cane Lane after the idea was brought up by his friend, Rocky Mix, a couple years ago.
“Last year was the first year…this year is a little bigger and better,” said Madjar.
“I think the coolest thing about Candy Cane Lane is it’s in your average, everyday neighbourhood.”
Rutland’s holiday streets are inspired by Edmonton’s Candy Cane Lane, which is over 40 years old.
“I don’t know if we’re going to be going 40 years strong, who knows. Everybody who is from Edmonton or around that area and live here now get so excited when they hear there’s a Candy Cane Lane in Kelowna.”
But not everyone in the neighbourhood is happy about the lights and additional traffic.
Madjar said he has heard from a few people in his neighbourhood who either aren’t happy with Candy Cane Lane itself, or simply aren’t willing to participate.
“I think some people just don’t like Christmas.”
This year, the organizer found some neighbours weren’t going to participate because it was physically too challenging to put up the lights. He said he offered assistance to six or seven residents and now their houses are illuminated as well.
Candy Cane Lane has been on display since Dec. 9 and will continue to showcase its lights until Jan. 2, 2013.
The streets’ big celebration will take place Saturday, Dec. 22, as local artists Dan Oig and Jeff Piatelli play Christmas music outside from 6 to 8 p.m.
Madjar said he hopes to also provide hot chocolate, coffee and donuts; however, he is still looking for a local coffee shop or bakery to sponsor the event with a donation of those items.
The public is invited to check out the lights any night from now until Jan. 2. The requested donation is a non-perishable food item, which will be given to the Kelowna Community Food Bank or Salvation Army. Springvalley Elementary School is currently decorating a food donation bin that will be placed on the corner of Gramiak and Collison Roads.
Madjar said he hopes residents will incorporate Candy Cane Lane into their list of Christmas traditions.
“It’s nostalgia for some people; for others, it’s about creating new memories.”