Charm City And Beyond: Christmas Celebrations Light Up The Night

In Baltimore City, Chestnut Avenue and Keswick Road in Hampden are gearing up for the 67th anniversary of the “Miracle on 34th Street,” a Christmas celebration for the ages.

The holiday tradition began in 1947 with the marriage of Bob Hosier and Darlene Hughes.

“When Bob got married, he added on to what his wife’s father had started, and then it just mushroomed,” said Joe Hosier, son of Bob Hosier. “Once the lights went across the street, it became what it is today.”

Hosier stated that for two years in a row, an estimated 200,000 people came to see the lights. Hosier enthused, “I just love the Christmas season. I really enjoy putting up the lights and seeing the happiness on people’s faces.”

md-p1a-darkroom-34th-street lam

Jim Pollock’s renowned hubcap Christmas tree (photo courtesy of the Baltimore Sun).

However, this holiday season, it could change. According to the Miracle on 34th Street website, there has been crime in the Hampden neighborhood the past few weeks. The Hosiers have reported that there will be adequate police coverage in the area in order to make it all possible.

The street’s well-known decorators include Jim Pollock and Elaine Doyle-Gillespie. Pollock is known for presenting his impressive hubcap Christmas trees and a snowman constructed from bicycle wheels. Doyle-Gillespie can be seen annually decorating her home with a peace theme.

Julia Marasa, former resident of the Baltimore City area, explained that she most recently began a new custom with the 34th street lights.

“I have a yearly tradition with my fiancé and his nieces to go to Hon Café for dinner, get hot chocolate, and walk around to see the lights,” Marasa said. “It is great seeing how committed the community is to the tradition. It is a great way to celebrate the holidays.”

Marasa’s favorite part of the celebration is “the Baltimore-themed house with Natty Boh and ‘Boh Ho Ho’ signs, along with the little Utz girl,” she said. “It is both creative and festive how they represent Baltimore with a holiday theme.”

These bright-colored experiences can be found in more places than one. On a more local level, there is another place to experience holiday lights, The Symphony of Lights, located in Symphony Woods in Columbia, MD. Benefits go towards funding for the Howard County General Hospital.

This year marks its 21st anniversary. Here, families can travel 1.4 miles through a trail of dazzling displays, while listening to Christmas music programmed through a specific radio station.

It will be open for business from Nov. 17 to Jan. 4. People can visit every day of the week, except Tuesday, from 6-10 pm.

The Symphony of Lights is initiated every year with the Dazzle Dash Weekend and features special events such as “Bike the Lights,” “Twinkling Tots,” “Tail Lights,” and “Midnight at 7.” A particularly popular night, “Midnight at 7” includes fireworks, bonfires and music on New Year’s Eve. “Tail Lights” allows people to walk their dogs through the light show. “Twinkling Tots” lets families walk through the lights with their children in strollers.

Columbia's Symphony of Lights celebration (photo courtesy of groupon)

This part of Columbia’s “Symphony of Lights” show depicts a charming gingerbread house (Photo courtesy of Groupon).

Junior Jenna Baker, an annual visitor of the lights, has been going with her family for the past 4 years.

“Every year I get excited about it because it reminds me of what Christmas is truly about: friends and family,” she said.

Of the numerous displays, Baker said an illuminated Santa with a naughty and nice list was her personal favorite.

For some, the Symphony of Lights is an old tradition and for others it is new, but it will always be the perfect option to light up even the Silent-est Night.

Categories: Features

Tagged as: ,