Generations of families gathered on Daisy Avenue in Long Beach’s Wrigley neighborhood Saturday afternoon to watch the 67th annual Daisy Avenue Christmas Tree Lane Parade.
Ice cream, candy canes and other treats were tossed into small, social distanced crowds that spread across the Wrigley neighborhood as vehicles adorned in holiday decorations traveled from Wardlow Road to Pacific Coast Highway.
The Daisy Avenue Christmas Tree Lane Parade started in 1953 when Gertrude Whittle persuaded the city council and local churches to help transform a grass median on Daisy Avenue between Pacific Coast Highway and Willow Street into a Christmas village with a nativity scene, according to city history. When city funding dropped in 1977, the parade ended.
Then in 1988, Maria Norvell, known as the mom of Christmas Tree Lane, and the Wrigley Area Neighborhood Alliance worked to bring the event back to life. Since then, the parade has boasted up to 80 participating groups, Norvell said.
Last year, however, the parade was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For this year, Councilmember Roberto Uranga worked with the neighborhood alliance and the Bixby Knolls Business Improvement Association to create a festive car parade that adhered to local health guidelines.
Longtime Wrigley resident Alex Palma, 33, who moved to the area in 1996, said he remembers watching the Daisy Avenue Christmas Tree Lane Parade growing up.
He said Wrigley has always been festive and that last year was a “bummer” because there was no parade. Now that he is older, Palma understands the importance of the parade and what it means to his kids, who cheered as cars passed by passed by.
“Even though it was short, the kids enjoyed it,” Palma said.