Neighborhood’s Pebble Creek Lights offers memorable lights displays

By: Michael P. Fabel, Jr. Special to The Placer Herald
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If you’ve driven through Rocklin’s Pebble Creek neighborhood during Christmas time, you’ve seen it — character cutouts from Disney movies, Sponge Bob and Santa Claus decorating the lawns throughout the street. The tradition, now known as Pebble Creek Lights, began in 1994 when the association of Stanford Ranch encouraged residents of the Stanford Ranch development to create Christmas-themed displays. The association created special categories such as most humorous, creative and grand. The winners of each category were awarded prizes, which included barbeques, cash and gift cards. In December of 1994 eight homes officially organized themselves and shared ideas and lent support to each other in good holiday spirit. The Disney-theme characters residents are familiar with emerged out of this inaugural year. In large part, you could say that Steve and Tamara Givens of Pebble Creek Drive organized the first eight homes that participated and those thereafter. “We didn’t even have to ask our neighbors, they wanted to be a part of it,” Steve Givens said. The Givens constructed the first single-car garage display of the nativity scene, which can still be seen today. Steve Givens also has a 350-pound sleigh atop his roof, which has to be hoisted up with a cherry picker and secured in place with custom roof brackets. This sleigh bears all nine reindeer with Snoopy at the helm. When asked why he does the display, Steve Givens replied without hesitation. “Because people enjoy it!” he said. In 1995, there were officially 17 homes participating. This was the year that Santa’s Workshop was built in all its extravagant detail. This is also a single-car garage display and can still be seen today. Pebble Creek Lights had a breakout year in 1996. There were officially 43 homes involved and the neighborhood won the award for “Best Group Effort.” The Red Wishing Well, which contains a television that plays classic Christmas tales, had its debut. Rusty Nelson, former resident of Pebble Creek Drive, crafted a 6-foot tall, 10-foot long model of a locomotive complete with operational “smokestack,” fog light and mechanical spinning wheels. This historical gem of craftsmanship was passed on to a neighbor before his departure and is still in route on Pebble Creek Drive 17 years later. By 1997 there were 50 homes committed and in 1998, Pebble Creek Lights officially broke 100 organized participants thanks in large part to Jon and Julie Sorci of Strand Road. “We wanted to get involved,” Jon Sorci said. The residents of Strand Road started off by creating Warner Bros. characters. These characters aren’t store bought – they’re hand made. An image of a character is projected onto a piece of plywood, details of the character are traced out, color is added and the final cuts are made. Strand Road isn’t limited to just Warner Bros. characters though. Strand Road is home to larger-than-life Car-Fresheners, an alien spacecraft, “The Beatles,” musically choreographed lights, a disco ball and even a few “Twilight” characters. Julie Sorci is the owner of the “Twilight” characters. “You can hear the girls scream all night long,” she said. By the year 2000, there were between 110 and 120 participating homes and in 2010 that number still holds strong. Since 1994, a quarter million cars have made there way through Pebble Creek Lights, according to Steve Givens. Rocklin resident Lynsey Bishop said she is thankful for the residents of Pebble Creek Drive for sharing the tradition. Bishop said their tradition has started a tradition for her family as well.