Cold weather didn't stop families, first-timers and annual trekkers from making their way Saturday evening down Fresno's Christmas Tree Lane.
Thousands of pedestrians flooded Van Ness Boulevard, which was filled with lights, decorations and live Christmas music for the kickoff of the 89th annual Christmas Tree Lane, which will continue through Dec. 25.
Joseph Crossetti, 28, of Fresno, brought his two children, Jojo, 5, and Nicholas, 3, to admire the holiday decorations on their first ever visit to Christmas Tree Lane.
"I wanted to show them a better part of Fresno," Crossetti said. "This is a really safe and good place to show the kids what the holiday season is all about: bringing people together."
Christmas Tree Lane isn't just a special experience for visitors though. Many of the homeowners take pride in decorating their houses and displaying their Christmas spirit.
Roger Driscoll, 55, is one of them.
"I love it," Driscoll said about Christmas Tree Lane. "It's a great experience for all the people here."
Driscoll, who is celebrating his third year as a homeowner on Christmas Tree Lane, said he really enjoyed being a part of the event.
"Everyone on this street is pretty much required to decorate their house," Driscoll said. "And if you don't, they kick you out -- just kidding, of course."
Christmas Tree Lane began in 1920 when one family decorated a single tree in memory of a child who had died. Other neighbors joined in, and the result became one of the nation's longest-running holiday events. The event is organized by the Fig Garden Homeowners Association.
Debbie Dehner, 58, of Clovis, has been visiting Christmas Tree Lane every year since organizers set aside nights specifically for pedestrians.
"I love the lights, the walking, seeing people out here with their families," Dehner said. "This is what the holiday spirit is about. It brings people together."
Dehner was visiting Christmas Tree Lane with her husband and friends. They have made it a tradition for the past eight years.
Curtis Sewell, one of Dehner's friends, said Christmas Tree Lane is one of the few things in Fresno that families can do year after year.
"I've been visiting this every year since I was a little boy," Sewell said. "There is nothing quite like this anywhere else in Fresno."
Saturday was the first of two nights for pedestrians only on Christmas Tree Lane. The second will be Dec. 13.