Disney characters and classic children icons – old and new – have sprung up in Santa hats and on snow sleds in Fremont neighborhoods off Nicolet Avenue for decades.
And every night from Saturday to Christmas Day, everyone is invited to see them up close at the annual holiday set up known as Crippsmas Place.
Since the late 1960s, homes along Nicolet Avenue between Fremont Boulevard and Gibraltar Drive have been decorated with large cartoon figures made from plywood – and it all started with one home owned by a man who wanted to make a difference.
Robert “Spider” Cantley started off the now annual tradition as a fundraiser for the Leukemia Lymphoma Society to honor his mother who he lost to leukemia, according to crippsmasplace.org. Soon after, his neighbors joined the effort and it’s grown over the years, according to Kate Amon, president of Crippsmas Club.
Cantley has moved away, but neighbors have upheld the tradition, and Crippsmas Club became an official nonprofit organization in 2006, according to Amon. Donations are collected each night Crippsmas Place is open and proceeds go toward six charities.
Amon said she got involved after learning the fundraiser was a charity drive and that it has become a sight to see. See a short video of who and what visitors will see this year in our media gallery above.
“I would always cheer up driving home and seeing how much nicer my neighborhood looked,” Amon said. “And it makes kids happy.”
This year’s massive holiday display features 70 to 80 houses, which are occupied by longtime residents and new neighbors alike. Amon said new residents are often enthusiastic to participate.
And that’s the case for Govind Unkalkar who moved into the neighborhood nearly three years ago.
While setting up icicle lights along his one-story home, Unkalkar said the residents are fortunate to have volunteers assist them with the set up, which he said takes up to two hours per home.
“I’m just lucky to be a part of it,” Unkalkar said. “It’s been a lot of fun.”
Longtime Fremont resident Jim Dalldorf doesn’t live in the immediate neighborhood, but that didn’t keep him away from volunteering on a gloomy Saturday morning.
This year marked Dalldorf’s first time volunteering with the installment of displays throughout Crippsmas Place, and he said he decided to simply because it’s a fun event that he remembers going to as a child.
“It just seems like a good thing to do,” Dalldorf said.
Entertainment can be found on Wellington Place, which is where donations will also be accepted. The charities that benefit from Crippsmas Place donations are the Leukemia-Lymphoma Society, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, H.E.R.S. Breast Cancer Foundation, Safe Alternatives to Violent Environments, Kidango, and Adopt an Angel.
Crippsmas Place Hours - Dec. 8 to Dec. 25
- Monday-Thursday: 6 p.m. to 10 pm.
- Friday-Saturday: 5 p.m. to 11 p.m.
- Sunday: 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.