Luminary Lane Keeps Tradition Burning Bright

Event of Nearly 70 Years Shines on Sunday Night

Luminary Lane has been the staple of the Park Ridge community in Sioux Falls since 1948.

Candles inside paper bags lined the streets Sunday night for the tradition that sees it happen every Sunday before Christmas Eve.

Pastor Roger Frederickson from the First Baptist Church brought the idea to Sioux Falls after a trip to Mexico saw a similar practice, but with candles on roofs.

The purpose of the candles is to invite the Christ Child into the resident’s home.

Mel and Carol Feuerstein have been participating in Luminary Lane for the last 43 years. They say it was happening when they arrived in Sioux Falls.

Both Mel and Carol hope this is a tradition that can stick with Sioux Falls forever.

“It holds the whole neighborhood together. We refer our neighborhood to someone and they say “Oh! That’s the neighborhood that lights the candles for Christmas!” Everybody in town knows about it,” said Mel.

The Feuerstein’s said they have seen a drop-off in participation as the neighborhood continues to age.

They did say they noticed a spike this year, attributing social media as a possible revival.

Dennis Lower has also been a part of the tradition for as long as he can remember. He said his family has been a part of it since the late 1960’s.

He said it has always been a great way for the neighborhood to remain connected as people come and go.

“It’s fun just to get out and get a chance to talk to the neighbors and everybody pitches in. If somebody is short a few bags here or somebody is gone, we put bags out for them just to make it continuous and make it look good,” said Lower.

Char and Dave Van Roekel have been on Luminary Lane for eight years.

They said they found out quickly that they were a part of something much larger.

“Within a couple days, we realized we had moved into more than just a neighborhood but we moved into an event,” said Char.

They said they now get the chance to bring new neighbors up to speed on the tradition, just like their neighbors did for them.

“Several neighbors invited us over for coffee and showed us how they put the bag together because there’s definitely technique and kind of pass it on from one neighbor to the next. Now, as neighbors move into the neighborhood, we get to pass that one,” said Char.

One thing is common between all these generational participants in Luminary Lane are their hope that this tradition can burn bright for future generations to come.

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