When Ed and Meri Maze purchased their Turlock home in 2001, they had no idea it sat on the city’s Christmas Parade route. The seasonal celebration taking place on their street began as a surprise to them, but the couple has since turned it into a tradition spanning two decades, countless lawn chairs and one very merry party for friends and family to look forward to each year.
Exactly 20 years ago this month, the Mazes invited a small group of about 25 people to their historic home on North Broadway. The street is the last stretch of the Christmas Parade route each year, giving those who made their way to the Maze home prime viewing of the show.
Since that first get together, Ed and Meri’s annual parade party has grown to welcome as many as 100 people each year, all of whom stop by to take in not only the parade, but the couple’s extreme dedication to Christmas decoration. This year marked the Mazes’ 20th parade gathering and everyone was ecstatic to return after COVID put a stop to last year’s event.
“We were very disappointed last year that we couldn't do this. We look forward to it all year long,” Maze said. “The parade coming down into a residential area like this, to me that is just ‘wow.’ It doesn’t just stay downtown and it helps celebrate some of the city’s history. The fact that we all can stay at our home, sit on the front porch and watch is just great.”
Ed spends weeks leading up to the parade decking his home out in all things Christmas. Each room has its own theme: there’s a Grinch room, a Charlie Brown room, a candy kitchen and more.
“People show up every year just to say, ‘What have they done now?’” he said. “It’s like a miniature Disneyland. It’s so fun seeing other people have fun with it, and that’s one of the main reasons I do this.”
The Maze home was constructed in 1910 and served as a Pan-American mission in the ‘50s and ‘60s, Ed said. Visitors often stop and admire the house’s plumbing, woodwork and leaded glass windows in addition to the decor.
As the Christmas Parade returned to Downtown Turlock on Friday night, so did the holiday cheer to Ed and Meri’s front lawn as they reunited with party-goers from years past once again. Guests mingled in the front yard, on the porch, by the curb and in the house, taking in the Maze home one magical moment at a time.
For Ed and Meri, the return of their longtime tradition was more than they could have hoped for.
“It’s Jesus’ birthday and the most important day in the world. That’s something to celebrate,” Ed said. “All of our friends and most of our family are right here. Seeing the kids’ eyes light up...For a grandpa, that’s a great, big joy.”