By Taylor N. Villarreal
Baltimore Watchdog Staff Writer
The Miracle on 34th Street in the Hampden section of Baltimore brings a Christmas show to the community with lights strung around homes, hot chocolate and even Santa Clause to visit.
The neighborhood begins to put up lights and prepare for the annual light show when the Halloween season ends, said Bob Hosier, the man who started the tradition more than 20 years ago.
The event begins the Saturday after Thanksgiving and ends Jan. 1.
The Miracle on 34th Street began in 1991. Visitors walk the one city block to look at the houses decorated with lights.
Each year now, half a million people are present at The Miracle on 34th Street, Hosier said.
“I like Christmas, but never thought it would be like this,” said Hosier, who lives at the end of the block at 726 W. 34th Street. “I never thought it would bring the whole world to see.”
Hosier said that his family always would decorate the house when he was younger and as he grew older, it always stuck with him and he enjoyed it.
Hosier and his wife put out a book each year that families can come up to and write a message on, which has become a tradition over the years.
“I have lived here since 1989 and this is my 21st year doing this,” said Jim Pollock, an artist and man who owns a home on 34th Street. “So far 25,000 come inside my home each year and with that being said, I always try and have more artwork and make changes every five to six years if possible.”
This allows for more fun and means having more friends stop by, Pollock said.
“I really enjoyed the artist home and listening to him explain what he does and how many visitors he gets,” said John Guglik, who is visiting from Mississippi to see the Miracle on 34th Street with his family. “My wife is also an artist, so we really enjoyed his work.”
This event brings people from all over, according to Barbara Bailey, a Baltimorean who is a first-timer at the event.
“This event is awesome, very eclectic,” Bailey said. “I’ve never seen anything like it. It gives that feeling like you’re a kid again and you feel a part of it.”
The colorfulness, different designs and cheerful faces is how Ann Hughes, a 25-year visitor , described it.
“It’s an explosion of colorful lights and original ideas,” said Hughes.” I enjoy just seeing people and them enjoying themselves and the colorfulness and originality that is present here.”
Hosier said a lot of work goes into putting up the lights on the houses on 34th Street. Despite the work, he said, the neighborhood has a party atmosphere when the lights are going up.
“I really enjoyed all of the homes, but especially the last one because there is so much animation going on and it can be a surprise to you,” Bailey said. “It’s neat to see all the little characters doing different things and it really just pulls you in.”
It gives off a relaxing moment for those dealing with stress and has good creativeness throughout it, said Kevin Robinson, a first-time attendee.
“One of my favorite homes was the Mardi Gras one because it shows a good time of partying and also shows coming together,” Robinson said. “It truly is a fun, family activity that is relaxing and eye opening.”
It’s a nice environment that seems to come together and work together, said Omar Antoine, a third-time attendee.
“Everyone is fun and happy and locked in by what is around them,” Antoine said. “It is very visual, a good experience and there is a lot of overwhelming stimulus around you.”
“It’s pretty crazy that the whole block comes together and does a unified event. We need unification more in the world,” Guglik said.
Hosier said the neighborhood puts together the light show because everyone likes to decorate and share the holiday season together.
“We each pay our own electricity and come together as a neighborhood to do this,” Hosier said.”If anyone at any point chooses that they don’t want to participate, they don’t have to. But in most cases people end up wanting to be a part of it.”