Well, sort of… With the rain pouring and the troubled economy encouraging drastic energy conservation, the annual Upper Hastings Ranch Light Up seems more of a hit-or-miss event this year.
Driving through the soggy Pasadena enclave during a 10 p.m. deluge, I saw plenty of houses wired up with lights and displays, but few were actually turned on. This gaudy, tinselly manger scene was one of the few creative efforts that truly stood out (for better or worse). Otherwise, most of the houses featured the sort of mundane outdoor light strands and bobbing reindeer found universally in every Home Depot throughout the Southland.
As they have for decades, Hastings Ranch residents continue to compete house against house and block against block for best themed-display honors. While it’s no longer the lavish affair I remember from childhood, their holiday show still merits a driveby, along with San Marino’s St. Albans Rd., Altadena’s Christmas Tree Lane, and the nearby Balian Ice Cream Mansion.
Skip the annual DWP light display at Griffith Park, though. Due to reservoir construction, it’s been trimmed back to a crowded corner display around the Mulholland Fountain. Nice if you’re in the neighborhood, but hardly worth a long drive with the kids.