It was a small but spectacular field of homes and streets decked out in holiday finery that greeted the KHTS 2014 Holiday Light Tour judges Friday evening in the Santa Clarita Valley.
The judging crew became a family affair when Head Light Tour Judge Michele Buttelman was assisted by her daughter, Cassie Buttelman and Celebrity Guest Judge Ronda Chobanian was joined by her daughter, Rachel Chobanian.
Ronda Chobanian is among Santa Clarita’s “all-things-holiday” experts due to her work designing and decorating beautifully elaborate and exquisite Christmas trees for the annual Festival of Trees to benefit the Boys & Girls Club of SCV.
Chobanian, the development director of the Boys & Girls Club of SCV Foundation, said she usually starts planning… and shopping… for next year’s Festival of Trees on Jan. 1.
“I love Christmas, I am all about Christmas,” said Chobanian.
Chobanian said her daughter, Rachel, is “just nuts about holiday lights. This is a perfect night for her, to help judge the KHTS 2014 Holiday Light Tour Contest.”
The KHTS 2014 Holiday Light Tour judges pose with residents of Essex Place, named the 2014 Most Spectacular Street in Santa Clarita.
Despite concerns that Thursday’s deluge and storm might have wiped out Santa Clarita’s holiday spirit, most homes (and holiday displays) seem to have weathered the “Pineapple Express” with only minor damage.
Nearly every home suffered something amiss, from décor knocked askew by the high winds to strings of lights shorted out by the intense rain. Many of the homeowners reported they had worked “feverishly” to get their holiday lights and displays back into shape for judging.
The KHTS 2014 Holiday Light Tour judges made note that holiday laser shows and coordinated music and light shows were a common theme among Santa Clarita holiday light displays.
“While characters from the movie ‘Frozen’ are very popular, it was not an overwhelming theme, like I thought it might be,” said Ronda Chobanian.
This 8.5-foot bear sits behind handmade “spools” of thread at the Stevenson Ranch home of Eli Hallak. Photo by Michele E. Buttelman.
Most Spectacular Home
First place in the 2014 KHTS Holiday Light Tour contest for single-family home was awarded to Eli and Patrice Hallak and daughters Madeline, 13, and Elizabeth, 10.
The Hallak home at 25086 Cotton Blossom Lane in Stevenson Ranch is a “Winter Wonderland,” said Eli Hallak.
The home features more than 50,000 lights and most dance to music that can be heard on 107.7 FM when you visit.
The lights and music are just part of the story. The home also features a 16-foot tall toy soldier, 8.5-foot tall Teddy Bear fresh from Santa’s
Workshop, Frosty the Snowman and Frosty’s little brother blowing snow across the front yard.
In addition, a laser light show offers intriguing effects there is a beautiful handcrafted gingerbread family, a Polar Express train and Rudolph (with all his friends.) The handmade Candy Cane Trees are true works of art.
The Hallak girls are usually out front selling candy canes so they can donate the money to a deserving non-profit organization.
“This home is so impressive,” said Judge Ronda. “The homemade thread spools that sit in front of the huge Teddy Bear are awesome.”
“I really enjoy all the moving parts of this display,” said Judge Rachel.
“The music and the lights bring this display all together,” said Judge Cassie.
Essex Place: 2014 Most Spectacular Street in Santa Clarita.
Most Spectacular Street
Can you find Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer on Essex Place in Valencia? All of Santa’s reindeer can be spotted on this small, charming street overflowing with community spirit in Valencia. However, Rudolph makes it a habit of traveling around the street, each night he can be found in a different location. When visiting, don’t forget to have your photo taken at the bench placed in front of the Christmas tree in the center of the cul-de-sac.
Each home on this small street boasts a slightly different and multi-cultural holiday theme or greeting.
“We have Italian, Hawaiian, Chinese, Russian, Hispanic and more on our small street,” said Jim Madera.
“This street is the spirit of Christmas,” said Judge Cassie.
“There is an amazing spirit and sense of neighborhood on this street,” said Judge Ronda.
The community spirit and unity of theme makes Essex Place in Valencia the “Most Spectacular Street” on the KHTS 2014 Holiday Light Tour.
Wakefield Court: Perennial favorite.
Most Spectacular Street Emeritus
Who doesn’t know about Wakefield Court in Saugus? Judging by the lines of cars trying to get in to tour the street each evening, it seems that the entire SCV knows about this amazing “Candy Cane Lane of the SCV.”
Wakefield Court retired from active “competition” a few years back and Head Judge Michele awarded the street a permanent place in the pantheon of legendary holiday lighting displays with the Most Spectacular Street Emeritus Award.
Wakefield Court continues to dominate the Holiday Light Displays in Santa Clarita. There is so much to see, so much to take in on this, it is almost impossible to absorb it all in one visit.
“I think that is the reason that people come back year after year to view this spectacular display of holiday cheer,” said Judge Michele.
Homeowner Jill Cox said she loves the holiday season on Wakefield Court.
“It is so rewarding to see the joy this street brings to people,” she said. “I love watching people’s reactions as they travel down the street.”
When visiting Wakefield Court don’t forget to bring a toy for the Toy Train found near 21911 Wakefield Court and a cash donation for Bridge To Home to deposit in the mailbox found at the other end of the cul-de-sac.
The most spectacular home on Wakefield Court continues to be the home of David and Salley Jensen. The home features a working carousel that seats six, a tree of lights and a huge homemade gingerbread house. The tree and carousel are synchronized to music.
“We built everything from scratch, the carousel and the gingerbread house,” said David Jensen.
The Stevenson Ranch home of Andrew Hasson in Stevenson Ranch narrowly missed capturing first place as Most Spectacular Home. Photo by Michele E. Buttelman.
Second Place Honors
Edged out by only two points, the Hallaks’ neighbor, Andrew Hasson, at 25851 Royal Oaks Road, Stevenson Ranch, captured second place for Most Spectacular Home with his red and white holiday theme. The snow white reindeer pulling a bright red sleigh off Hassons’ roof made the judges go “ohh and ahhh.”
“The purity of the red and white theme really speaks to me,” said Judge Ronda. “Plus those reindeer are gorgeous.”
A music and light show adds to the overall spectacular nature of the home.
Ten points separated first from the second place street in the contest. Paul Kass, at 27875 Crown Court Circle in Valencia, and his neighbors have joined together to create “A Courthome Winter Wonderland” in the small courtyard oasis of eight homes.
This courtyard outfitted in elegant holiday garb offers a beautiful display of colorful, bright and stunning LED lights. Every 30 minutes, the courtyard transitions into a cool winter scene, lit only by white light. Music plays throughout the courtyard for all to enjoy.
Kass said every Friday night during the holiday season you will find the neighbors outside around the fire pit enjoying “Hot Coco Fridays.”
“The best day of the year is the day after Thanksgiving when we light up the courtyard,” said Kass. “The worst day of the year is January 1st, at night, when there are no lights on anymore.”
Don’t miss the garland of holiday stockings hanging over the entrance to the courtyard, each of the stockings is emblazoned by the name of a homeowner.
“This is a little square of magic,” said Judge Rachel. “I would make this my Christmas card.”
The home of Mitch McDiffett on Vista Ridge Drive in Valencia offers up a saute to the SCV’s high school marching bands. Photo by Michele E. Buttelman.
Community Spirit Award
Mitch McDiffett, at 24225 Vista Ridge Drive in Valencia, has crafted a salute to the high school marching bands of the SCV. Each high school, Hart, Canyon, West Ranch, Valencia, Saugus and Golden Valley, is represented by a toy soldier in full band uniform and playing an instrument from French horn to snare drum.
In addition, the driveway and front yard offers guests thousands of lights, a 30-foot long working chair lift, hockey playing penguins, ice skating reindeer, and a nativity set and Christmas tree that show the true meaning of Christmas.
“The handmade toy soldiers are amazing,” said Judge Rachel.
“The ice skating penguins are absolutely adorable,” said Judge Cassie.
Best Holiday Lights Newcomer
Tom VanDyke, of 27631 Woodfield Place, Valencia, scored highly in his first KHTS Holiday Light Tour effort.
The home featured a warm, traditional glow of classic holiday lights along with the music and light show.
“The lighting color scheme was set to match the feel of each song,” said VanDyke.
The house, along with three others offers a nice visual setting with no crowds.
“It’s a great place to enjoy a quiet stroll or enjoy the music and lights from your car,” said Judge Michele. Set your radio to 99.1 FM.
“I loved the Nutcracker sequence,” said Judge Cassie. “I think this home did the best job making the lights fit the mood of the music.”
More Holiday Light Tour Homes
Christmas in Castaic
This Christmas display, at 32451 Sierra Oak Trail, Castaic 91384, consists of 30,000 lights which are synchronized to music. Holiday and Christmas songs, both classic and modern, are featured along with some humorous sound bites from holiday movies combined for more than 45 minutes of a continually running show. Music can be heard on 99.1 FM.
Flamingos and Penguins
Visit 29110 Highplains Court, Castaic, and enjoy the flamingos and penguins as they get together for a festive celebration, complete with snowball fight, while Flamingo Santa and his reindeer watch from the roof.
Ash Court in Saugus gives a spectacular show of light and community spirit.
The home of Wes Novotny and John Fosterling at 22514 Ash Court, Saugus, brings you “The Simpsons” in a huge array of handmade cutouts. Look for Bart riding a sleigh above the street and find “Santa Simpson” in an upstairs window.
The home of Mark and Carla Caple, 22112 Altair Lane, Santa Clarita, CA 91390, is truly inspirational. The real meaning of Christmas is not forgotten at the Caple house. The Christmas spirit extends to fun and fantasy, as well. Thousands of LED and laser lights move to music. In addition, Santa has just landed in a 15 ft. hot air balloon outside the front door.
“This home is an oasis of Christmas meaning, and Christmas cheer,” said Judge Michele.
Chase Nalier, of 24112 Tossano Drive, Valencia, offers viewers “lots of flashing, music-playing brightly lit and accented lights, especially the lights in the front tree (that’s the tree with the presents).”
Haywood Holiday Lights
Olaf has come to visit at 23717 Adamsboro Drive, Newhall, and has brought his magic to the singing olive tree. The tree is lit with more than 25,000 lights for a special light and music show (tune your radio to 107.7). Santa and Mrs. Claus will appear Saturday night from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Food donations are being collect for the Santa Clarita Valley Food Pantry.
Hobbs Family Christmas with Olaf
More than 30,000 lights dance to your favorite Christmas tunes at 26439 Misty Ridge Place, Canyon Country, including two special songs from the movie “Frozen.”
Keith and Merilee Hobbs (children Amanda, Kameron and Landon) have turned their Fair Oaks Ranch home into a “frozen winter wonderland.” The classic VW Bug is decorated with holiday lights and the headlights flash on and off to the music.
Life size snowflakes and ornaments adorn the house and yard. A laser light show illuminates the entire front of the house between songs.
Showtimes nightly between 5:15 p.m. and 10pm. On a cold night, tune into FM 107.9 and enjoy the music from inside your car.
“This is a wonderful display of holiday creativity,” said Judge Michele. “This is one of my favorites.”
The Tolentino’s White Christmas
This Christmas light spectacular, at 19715 Koji Court, Canyon Country, which features more than 20,000 lights, is lit up every evening from 5:30 10:30 p.m. The forecast calls for snow every half an hour starting at 6:30 p.m., with the last snow fall at 9:30 p.m. This display also features a light and music show holiday classics.
A Leidholdt Christmas
Designed by Blake and Chris Leidholdt, 19665 Lonerock, Canyon Country.
According to the Leidholdts, their display offers “A lot of lights. A lot of stuff. A lot of work. A lot of cables. A LOT. If it’s raining there’s not a lot of light. If it’s not raining a lot of lights. There are crazy homemade gingerbread guys and a Grinch on a cable going back and forth, with everything timed to music.”
The display features more than 40,000 lights, a 22-foot LED Christmas tree and a homemade sleigh slides from the roof down to the yard. Catch this display only between 6 to 10 p.m.
Tyree Family Christmas
This display, at 20008 Drasin Drive, Canyon Country features more more than 13,000 lights that decorate both the front and back of the house. Don’t miss the 45-foot tree-of-lights topped with a four foot star in the back yard, visible from either Soledad Canyon Road (between Camp Plenty and Golden Valley) or from Golden Valley.
Candy Cane Arches
19340 Old Friend Road, Canyon Country.
More Streets on Light Tour
A character from the film “Frozen” on Canterwood Drive in Saugus. Photo by Michele E. Buttelman.
Christmas Crossroads at Canterwood
Plug 20996 Canterwood, Saugus into the GPS and head over to see one of the true unsung gems of the SCV.
A festive Christmas tree adorns the center of the cul-de-sac with strings of lights spraying out overhead. Check out the house with the “Frozen” theme featuring an “ice monster” as well as Olaf. Check out the “Minions” in the antique car, too!
Ash Court, Saugus
From the Poinsettia flowers drawn on the streets to the signs of Peace, Joy, Love and more adorning each of the homes, Ash Court is a spectacular show of light and community spirit.
Meraweather Place, Valencia
It’s all about the elves on Meraweather Place. The elves are “out and about” and can be found all over the neighborhood. Come drive through Clearidge, Meraweather, Essex and Mansfield and try to find as many elves as you can. In addition, catch the luminaries on display every weekend through Christmas.
For More Lights…
For additional holiday light locations visit the [MAP] on the hometownstation.com website. To be included in the list of holiday homes or to nominate your neighbors email Michele@hometownstation.com.