Dozens of bright, colorful holiday bulbs hung delicately on individual strands of fishing wire and push pins from the ceiling of Kurt and Mindy Weide’s Paso Robles home.
The display is only part of the mass decorating that goes into prepping for Saturday’s 23rd annual Vine Street Victorian Christmas Showcase.
They’re part of the 13 blocks of homes, businesses and schools along the historic North County street blocked from vehicle traffic so people can walk the neighborhood’s various lighted attractions.
“It takes about three-and-a-half days of decorating in all,” Mindy Weide said of her home at 1728 Vine St.
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The Weides’ effort began with a few lights about 13 years ago. It grows every year. Many decorations are handmade, but some are store bought, she said.
“It’s always, ‘More lights, more lights!’ from these boys,” a smiling Kurt Weide said of sons Carson, 8, and Parker, 6.
Red-and-white-striped arches line their yard, now home to a nativity scene and igloo.
Every year, they learn how to improve. The house had to be re-wired to support the amount of electricity flowing through it during the holidays, Kurt Weide said. They also joined a utility program that averages out their electricity bill so it doesn’t shoot up in December.
Even with the chance of rain, the event is happening, officials said. The forecast didn’t worry most participants.
“One year when it was raining, I went up on 10th Street and looked down and (Vine Street) looked like a sea of umbrellas,” Terry White said.
She and her husband Bruce decorate a two-story, turn-of-the-century Victorian at 1245 Vine St., which houses the family financial business. Outside, the fence and porch are adorned with 50 giant red bows.
The Whites bought the building in 2001, and, as longtime residents, they knew what they were getting into. Permanent rope lights are installed around the house and along its steep architectural peaks. The family likes being part of the event but also taking time out to walk around and enjoy it.
“Like my wife has said, this event is a chance to step away from your busy life and into something nostalgic,” Bruce White said.
Other festivities Décor is one part, participants say, but there’s also free cotton candy, cookies, roasted chestnuts and hot cider throughout the route. The public activities take place outside, such as staged performances, choirs and interactive costumed characters like Scrooge.
“It’s just a fun, magical event that is really a gift back to the community,” showcase founder Norma Moye said.
The Paso Robles resident, who also leads the downtown’s Main Street Association, is widely admired among showcase residents.
“People ask why we do this every year,” said Doug Major, of Dr. Major & Dr. Hile Optometrists at 1112 Vine St. “And it’s really because of Norma. She’s such a cheerleader for Paso Robles. And she sees that everyone really loves this event.”
His office, which has participated for the last 20 years, has the cotton candy. Three machines and a handful of helpers work throughout the evening, Major said.
Some years, up to 2,000 sticks of the pink sugary treat are distributed.