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Fremont's ‘Crippsmas Place' brings holiday joy, raises money for charities

It’s a must do annual holiday event for many Bay Area families: a trip to the East Bay’s “Crippsmas Place.”

More than 70 homes and front yards are aglow with holiday spirit for Fremont’s annual light displays.

“It’s awesome,” said Livermore resident John Zieska. “I mean, almost every house. You know?”

Some families have visited annually for decades.

“I’m turning 40 and I remember a lot of it,” said Tracy resident Amanda Swift. “I remember some of these decorations, a lot of them. So, however long that is, at least 35 years.”

The festivities began when Cripps place homeowner Robert “Spider” Cantley created the first colorful plywood Christmas decorations for his yard in 1967 and it evolved organically through neighbors from a variety of backgrounds.

“I just said, ‘Oh I’d like to support that.’ Even though as a secular Jew, I wasn’t used to decorating,” said Crippsmas Place club president Kate Amon.

By the 1990’s, volunteers were creating decorations for dozens of homes, not just on Cripps Place, but on several adjacent streets.

The headquarters right now is on Wellington Place, where volunteers are collecting donations for several charities, not only Cantley’s favorite charities of leukemia and lymphoma research but several local charities as well.

“We hand out candy canes and accept any cash donations that people care to give. It’s free to visit, but any cash donations you give or online will go to our charities,” Amon said.

Crippsmas Place has a website where anyone can donate. The site also has a calendar of events showing when Santa Claus will be at Crippsmas Place, as well as a schedule of musical presentations.

The lights go on every night from 6 p.m. until 10 p.m. through New Year’s Eve.

Source: NBC Bay Area

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