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Dimmer Christmas this year without Holiday Light Festival

Holidaylights Christmas won't be as bright this year without the annual Holiday Light Festival in Griffith Park.

The DWP has mounted a display of holiday lights for 14 years along a one-mile segment of Crystal Springs Drive in Griffith Park, attracting more than half-a-million visitors each year.

But the L.A. Department of Water and Power announced in July that the annual November-December event would be canceled because a major water pipeline project would be underway.

Much of the construction is taking place on Crystal Springs Drive, and temporarily halting the work would jeopardize the targeted completion date of November 2011, DWP officials said.

The agency is building a water line that will connect the North Hollywood Pump Station with the Ivanhoe Reservoir in Silver Lake, requiring 11,200 feet of new steel pipe to be installed in Griffith Park.

“Due to the cost and amount of time needed to halt a major construction project … it is in the public’s best interest to cancel this year’s event,” DWP officials said in a statement.

Aging pipes, low water-pressure problems and the need to comply with federally mandated water-quality regulations prompted the water project, according to the statement.

Other sites were scouted as a temporary home for the light festival, but none met its power and space requirements, said Kim Hughes, a department spokeswoman.

“There are limitations on infrastructure,” she said. “You need power to support all those displays, which is over a mile in length. You also have to worry about egress and ingress to and from the site.”

To help keep the holiday tradition alive, a few displays have been installed next to the William Mulholland Memorial Fountain near Crystal Springs Boulevard, including a large tree, a fire truck and assorted reindeer, Hughes said. And although the pipeline project is scheduled to be finished by next November, he said, there is a chance next year’s festival also will be canceled.

“You never know what you are going to find underground,” she said. “It is our hope to have everything completed on schedule. But the water project is key to the infrastructure of this city.”


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Photo: A display from the 2009 Holiday Light Festival. Credit: Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times.

Comments () | Archives (15)

Darn! You mean this year we'll have to go without those lines of hundreds of idled cars spewing greenhouse gases into the atmosphere?

Great planning guys. One of the few fun and free Christmas events in L.A. and our dysfunctional city pees on it.

Loved the light display, but wish it was just set up for walking (or biking) . . . leaving the cars in the parking lot over at the zoo. Look forward to seeing it back in the future.

"hundreds of idled cars spewing greenhouse gases into the atmosphere" = Your typical rush hour traffic on the freeways, except substitiute "hundreds" with "millions".

Not even a bazillion dollar stimulus can bail out Angeleno's sad lack of perspective.

and there is a likelihood that all future displays must be canceled!

Good riddance to the wasteful nod to Tom LaBonge's ego! A complete waste of taxpayer money and energy.

Why couldn't they plan around this event? The Holiday Light Festival is an amazing sight families with members of all ages and abilities (like seniors who are barely mobile with walkers) can do together. Somehow I hadn't heard about it being canceled this year until now, and was planning on going. Oh well...

God forbid you break the snail workpace of the DWP!

Yay! I live in the neighborhood and the traffic is a nightmare. That I can buck up to and deal with. But... the idling cars are disgusting. Those damn signs: [Idle for] "40 Minutes From This Point". Hopefully when it re-opens it'll be car free. But that's doubtful.

This is great!! That thing was awful and cheap looking anyway. And that's on top of having to deal with all that traffic. I hope it stays canceled. Everything in this city is always ruined by traffic. We're better people without this nonsense.

It's hardly free, genius. You, me - the tax payers pay for it. Money for it comes from three our four different City departments and I'm not counting the write-off Rec and Parks gives to it. And then there's the environmental toll. So free it ain't.

See you next year!

Bah, humbug!!!

@David: It actually opens to bikes one night per year. But I agree with the others here, it's a waste to have all those cars idling for that long. If it's only a mile, why not make it walking/biking only? We need to get out of our "convenient Lexus cages" and meet our fellow humans that we forgot about.

I remember 14 years ago on my commute between Burbank and Los Feliz what a lovely surprise the first display was... within 5 or so years, as word got out, I came to dread it. The trip through the park was impossible, the 5 freeway was even more of a parking lot than usual, and even San Fernando Road and Barham Blvd. were impacted. Every year it has gotten worse and worse. Hopefully when (if) it returns it will be pedestrian-only... maybe with a shuttle service from the Galleria, like they have now for shoppers to and from the zoo, or the Equestrian Center. I'd certainly walk to the park for that.


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