Holiday season

Torrance’s Sleepy Hollow set for another hectic but spectacular holiday season – Daily Breeze

Sleepy Hollow doesn’t look sleepy or hollow this month – with people desperate for holiday cheer.

Seaside Ranchos, the cozy neighborhood tucked away in South Torrance colloquially known as Sleepy Hollow, has for years been home to a beloved and hugely popular local tradition of elaborate holiday lights and displays.

Christmas lights have been a staple of the Torrance Christmas party since its inception in 1984 by resident Bob Solomon.

The attraction’s popularity has only increased with the rise of social media, with images of electrifying screens drawing hordes of visitors and street vendors outside, but also creating huge traffic jams in the district.

One of the lovingly decorated homes in the popular “Sleepy Hollow” neighborhood in the Torrance area. Photo: Krity Hutchings, SCNG

Visitor counters set up by the city once counted 5,000 visitors on Sleepy Hollows’ busiest night, said Tricia Blanco, president of the Seaside Neighborhood Association, which volunteers to organize the Christmas lights each year.

But that was before the coronavirus pandemic.

As the virus spread, resulting in a deadly winter wave, organizers created a scaled-down version for 2020. And the city council approved a modified version of its traffic and parking plan.

This year, however, the Seaside Neighborhood Association and residents say they expect an onslaught of post-pandemic-era visitors eager to celebrate the season with fewer bookings.

“Last year was calmer,” Blanco said. “This year it will be back to zoom.”

The Torrance City Council passed several measures to quell overwhelming traffic in 2019, including:

  • Installation of a permanent stop sign at Robert Road and Doris Way.
  • Dedicate one side of the street to emergency services.
  • Prohibition of stationary sales.
  • Enact sidewalk restrictions for itinerant vendors.
  • Added five vehicle counters to keep an accurate count of visitors.
  • Scatter 20 new trash cans throughout the neighborhood.

You can still buy food and drink from the vendors in Sleepy Hollow. Anyone can apply for a permit to sell in the neighborhood, according to the Torrance Police Department; the Seaside Ranchos website says only residents can get a permit, but that seems to be a deterrent.

Residents have reported a much more manageable traffic flow since the rules were implemented.

But residents of Sleepy Hollow always know to expect traffic jams on peak nights.

Robin and Chris Week, residents of Seaside Ranchos since 2006, have become accustomed to vacationing in Sleepy Hollow.

“We’re not going almost anywhere in December,” Robin Week said. “If we can even get out of the neighborhood, we can’t go back. It’s too much.”

For the most part, however, traffic doesn’t bother the couple, she said.

“We dine every night on our little patio and watch the neighborhood go by and enjoy it,” Robin Week said. “I love it when people drive by and you hear all the kids in the cars. They love all the lights and decorations.

Residents of Sleepy Hollow are under no obligation to participate in the spectacular holiday decorating, though most like to get involved.

“It’s really fun and everyone is pretty nice, and they thank us for decorating,” Chris Week said. “The majority of people really enjoy participating.”

SNA recommends interested visitors take a walking tour of Sleepy Hollow Park on Pacific Coast Highway, Calle Mayor or Prospect Avenue and head to Robert Road to enjoy the holiday festivities.

Sleepy Hollow will retain its decorations until January 1.

Information about Sleepy Hollow can be found at seaseaholidaylights.com.

Editor’s Note: Anyone can apply for a license to sell in Sleepy Hollow. Because incorrect information was presented, who could apply for a permit was incorrect in an earlier version of this story.

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