By Kyle Armstrong
Baltimore Watchdog Staff Writer
The annual Miracle on 34th Street in the Hampden section of Baltimore City lit up the night with both smiles and Christmas lights last weekend, attracting hundreds of people from throughout the area. for the holiday season.
The small block of 34th Street featured a variety of unique lights and displays. Santa Claus even showed up to ask kids what they wanted for Christmas.
Ashley Amundsen, a UMBC student who attended the event, was amazed by the variety.
“The community effort is amazing. Everyone has their own style,” she said.
One house displayed an assortment of National Bohemian Beer and Old Bay decorations, another with a Christmas tree made of vinyl records, and most noticeable on the end is the brightest and most decorated home of Bob Hosier, the man who helped start the yearly tradition.
Hosier said his parents bought the house on the end at 726 W. 34th St. after World War II, and decorating for Christmas and the holidays became routine each year. It quickly drew attention in the community.
“After 82 was when we really took things to the next level,” Hosier said. He said that there was no motive behind starting the tradition besides him wanting to decorate his parents’ house.
Hosier said he loved to decorate and his passion for it translated to his neighbors, each adding their own twist of lights and decorations to the block.
Hosier talked about some of the things that inspired the decorations, like the Christmas music outside.
“In 91, the guy on the end across from me asked me to run speakers because he couldn’t hear the Christmas music from his house,” Hosier said.
According to Hosier and the official website for the event, the tradition is on its 71st year, attracting hundreds each night and thousands over the holiday season.
When asked what keeps Hosier going each and every year, he said it’s his hobby for decorating.
“I just like decorating and I like to do to it for my family. But it’s also great to see the community enjoy the decorations too,” Hosier said.
Hosier said he looks forward to many more years of the tradition, and there may be a few changes next time around.
“I like to move things around and bring out old decorations that I haven’t used in a while,” Hosier said.
The light show drew in families with children of all ages from all around Maryland.
Heather Richardson, a frequent visitor of the event, brought her daughter to see all the different displays.
“I’ve probably been to this over 10 to 15 times,” she said.
Richardson also said she loved how the community joins in to make a unique arrangement of Christmas lights and decorations.
“[The Miracle on 34th Street] is such a positive place for people to come together and get away from the negativity, especially in today’s world,” Richardson said.
Mike and Anna Jacobs brought their nephew to the night under the lights.
Mike Jacobs said he likes the lights and how they bring out the nostalgia of Christmas, something he believes is withering away. His wife Anna added to that idea.
“The first time I saw this was in 2001 when I moved to Baltimore. I remember that it was a bit more vibrant then,” Anna Jacobs said.
Olivia Bailey, another UMBC student, was taking photos of the event with Amundsen and was intrigued by the lights, decorations, and emotions of attendees.
“This is my first time here. I’ve heard about it everywhere and that it’s really cool,” Bailey said. “I mostly enjoy seeing all the families that are coming out and seeing the smiles on their faces.”
Amundsen is also a first-timer who found both the decorations and the attendance very notable.
“I really like seeing other people enjoying looking at the decorations and their reactions,” Amundsen said.
According to the official website for the event, Miracle on 34th Street has gained popularity over the years through recognition by several organizations, including Nightline, The Travel Channel, and Maryland Lottery. Hosier said that people from all over the world have travelled to see the lights.
The street’s show began on Nov. 25 and is available to the public every day through Jan. 1.