The soft glow of luminarias will not light East Third Avenue on Christmas Eve this year, but residents will be able to find a similar display just north of downtown in Fassbinder Park.
More than 1,000 luminarias have lit up East Third Avenue almost every year for more than 30 years, said Karen Anesi, a board member with the Boulevard Neighborhood Association. However, this year the association couldn’t confirm enough volunteers would be available to help ahead of time, in part, because some residents were leaving town, she said.
“We did not want five people to do the job of 15,” she said.
The association decided not to put up luminarias one other year in the event’s history, and the next year “everybody came out of the woodwork” to help. A similar pattern is likely this time around, she said.
“Next year, people will come out,” she said.
Those hankering for a luminaria display can admire about 500 luminarias in Fassbinder Park from around 5 p.m. Christmas Eve until about midnight, said Meredith Mapel, a resident of West Park Avenue.
Mapel’s mom helped establish the tradition of lighting luminarias on East Third Avenue, and for the past five years, her family and neighbors have been helping to extend the Christmas celebration at Fassbinder, she said.
“It’s kind of a holiday tradition that we have been doing in some form or fashion my whole life,” she said.