Christmas Lane Brightens Spirits

Local tradition continues on popular city street

By Daniel GaitanKENOSHA.COM

Gaitan is a proud Kenosha native who has covered his local community for much of his professional career. The DePaul University graduate served previously as an award-winning writer for the Kenosha News.

Christmas Lane is helping keep spirits bright this holiday season. 

The Kenosha tradition offers locals the chance to get into the Christmas spirit for free, and while maintaining proper social-distancing recommendations.

Hundreds of vehicles descend upon the area — roughly the 6000-6200 blocks of 68th and 69th streets — each night to view the homes decorated in heavy Christmas decor. Some families choose to walk when the weather permits. 

Mike Heuser has lived in the area for 35 years and puts on a light show every season. He relishes the chance to impress folks.

“It’s all for the kids and the people who come by,” Heuser said. “I continue to do this because it’s fun.”

His home is decked out with a Santa, sparkling lights and music player. 

“It’s a wonderful thing,” he said. 

Hanna and Shawn Zapenzki have about a dozen inflatable “Minions” from the “Despicable Me” film franchise. 

“My son really liked “Minions” and we had one and then it grew to three, and now every year we keep adding them,” she said. 

“It’s always hopping here,” Shawn Zapenzki said. “It’s a parade every night.”

Mother and daughter Penny Glenn and Brittany Matson said they’re thankful for the chance to safely get out of the house during the COVID-19 pandemic. Mason brought her kids to Christmas lane for the first time Sunday night. 

“You’ve got to stay safe,” said Glenn about the pandemic. “It’s hard I think on the little ones when they want to get out and about. When you want to go places you’ve got to think about not just yourself but everyone around you.”

“We work in health care so we know how to do social distancing,” Matson added.  

Couple Korriana and Derius Claybrook also brought their young family out Sunday night. 

“It’s always nice to have something normal,” Derius Claybrook said. 

It’s very hard to find nowadays,” Korriana Claybrook added.

Homeowner Steve Hartfield didn’t just decorate his home. He put out two food donation bins for the Shalom Center, something he’s done for 30 years.

“It’s been good this year with people dropping things off,” Hartfield said, adding that he doesn’t mind the increased traffic in front of his home.

Ald. Dominic Ruffolo, who represents the area, said Christmas Lane brings “a lot of interest to Kenosha.”

“A lot of non-Kenosha residents drive there because it continues to be something nice,” Ruffolo said. “Especially with COVID, it’s a perfect family outing because you can stay in your car.”