El Cerrito: Views of the Shadi Christmas display from 1982 and an appeal to keep the tradition alive

Whether it’s your residence or your work, moving to a smaller space can be an agonizing as you try to decide what to throw out and what to keep.
That was the case last month for the West County Times, as the staff prepared to leave its longtime home on Lakeside Drive.
One of the things that nearly got tossed was a small file drawer that contained envelopes of color transparencies that included a number of images from 1982 of the Sundar Shadi Christmas display on his large lot on the Arlington.
We present some of those images here, along with a reminder that, people need to come forward to continue the tradition that Shadi established and nurtured almost up to his passing in 2002 at age 101.
Volunteers have kept the display going and now a new generation needs to step forward.
As columnist Martin Snapp noted, “This beloved holiday tradition can go on for hundreds of years. Or it can go away tomorrow, and after a generation nobody will remember. It’s up to you, El Cerritans.”

Chris Treadway

  • Martin Snapp

    This beloved Christmas tradition is one of the things that make small towns like El Cerrito so cool. I hope a new generation will step forward and keep in going.

  • Ken Yamaoka

    I am Buddhist but I very much enjoy the display. My mother still lives in El Cerrito. I make it a point a Christmas to drive by when ever I can. Back in 1970 I did help set it up as he called the high school looking for a couple of helpers. Please keep the tradition alive.
    Thank you Ken Yamaoka

  • Mike Franklin

    I remember seeing this display with my grandparents ,some 20 plus years ago. Truly a thing worth saving & sharing with generations to come

  • please keep the tradition of the nativity going it was something my family went to see every year miss it

  • Joe Dagna

    We would go to the display every year. I remember parking and walking up the street and catching my first glimpse of that wonderfull site. We took our son every year also untill sadly it was gone. We never thought to take pictures because we were sure it would never end. Thanks for your pics.

  • We visit the bay area annually & have enjoyed the Shadi display for many, many years. While marveling & sharing our thoughts on this display, we too failed to take pics. If you have some, please take a moment to email to songmaker@usa.com.

    Here’s wishing you a Merry Christmas & a great 2012!