• WHAT: Brock home with 150,000-plus Christmas lights
• FROM HIGHWAY 99: Take the 120 Bypass east and exit some two miles away at the Union Road exit and turn north. Drive just over 0.2 miles (past the traffic signals at Wawona where there is a church on the southeast corner) and turn left on Parkview Street. Travel 0.1 miles and turn right on Mercedes.
Hands down, the 150,000-lights Christmas spectacle at Mercedes Avenue beats all must-see decorations in Manteca.
For more than a decade, this loving tribute of a husband to his wife has catapulted the Family City in cyberspace. Just Google Manteca Christmas lights on YouTube and – voila! – you see the Brock family’s winter wonderland pop on your screen. In fact, you’ll see several postings, both still photos and videos, of the island of lights.
As many people know by now, the Mercedes Avenue yuletide attraction is husband Dale Brock’s holiday gift to his better-half, Renee. He gets help from a number of relatives and friends, but he does the lion’s share of the intricate construction of the decorations’ main framework which he usually starts in September.
Mercedes Avenue is just a block from Union Road on Parkview Street, just across from Union West Park.
While the Brocks’ Christmas display remains the mecca for holiday-decorations sight-seeing, there are many other sites worth seeing in and around Manteca. Several of them, in fact, are worth a windshield-viewing leisurely drive with the family even during the daylight. Here are some of those destinations we’ve tracked down:
• The Manteca Historical Museum and Memorial Annex next door. Volunteers deck out the front of the museum with lights every year. Next door, the Memorial Annex also sparkles not only with lights but with a Christmas tableau that includes traditional holiday figurines with several of the museum’s antique and vintage collections serving as nostalgic backgrounds. The entire setting is framed by the annex building’s floor-to-ceiling glass picture window which makes viewing from the outside a conveniently pleasant experience.
• Peach Avenue between South Airport Way and Union Road. There are two home decors that make the drive to the south Manteca countryside worth your while. One is a ranchette property just west of Union Road. From the road, a Christmas setting of lighted trees and other décor look inviting when seen through the lighted framework of the running front fence and gates.
• Farther down the road, past Oleander Avenue, is a front-yard attraction hugging an electric pole. Here, Santa has parked his rustic vintage farm cart filled with wrapped presents.
• Acacia Street just behind the Golden Valley Credit Union on Center Street. The front yard of this older home has Christmas-themed spotlights that are too many to mention. The highpoint literally of all of the yard décor is a trumpeting angel framed by a halo of light which sits atop the house’s garage. It’s a picturesque sight to behold during the day, but it takes on a luminous and whimsical quality when viewed at night.
• Harding Way just north of East North Street, the second house from the intersection. This yard décor is a child’s delight, or at least to everyone who is young at heart. There’s Dora the Explorer next to a Santa Claus driving what appears to be a green and yellow John Deere-like train with two reindeers waving from inside the two box cars, and Bob the Builder and Sponge Bob on the other side of the yard next to the garage. The colorful cut-out figures are smiling under the shade of a towering sequoia sparkling with lights at night.
• The house on the corner of Hansen Avenue and East North Street just across the street from St. Paul’s United Methodist Church. Familiar Christmas characters surrounded with lights make this décor better to enjoy in the evening.
• “Christ is the reason for the season,” is the message that the homeowners of these two lawn tableaux want to send to passersby. One is prominently displayed in front of the home on the corner of Acacia Avenue and San Juan Street just west of Alameda Avenue. The other nativity scene is at Sycamore Place, a quiet residential enclave on the north side of Alameda Avenue. “That’s what Christmas is all about – it’s about Christ,” said a resident of this home where the nativity, arranged beneath a large willow tree, is the main décor of the front yard.
— ROSE ALBANO RISSO
209 staff reporter