It was a special holiday tradition for Jerry, and was the inspiration behind the luminaria display that Jerry and his wife Susie have coordinated for the past 22 years in their own neighborhood.
Each year, Jerry spends weeks preparing for the luminaria display, an event that has become tradition for many families in north Phoenix. Jerry promotes the event both by distributing flyers to surrounding households and by posting on the Nextdoor 32nd Street/Thunderbird website. For more than 10 years, Jerry has arranged for a sponsor to provide the white luminaria bags to all participating neighbors, and has convinced local stores to provide a discount on the votive candles that fill the bags with light.
A few days before the lighting ceremony, Jerry and other volunteers distribute the bags to each participating house along the half-mile long Acoma Drive. Then, on Christmas Eve, the neighborhood lights each candle so that all of Acoma Drive is lit up with hundreds of lights.
Through the years, Jerry has found ways to make the event even more meaningful for the community. Since 2003, the display has been held in honor of an individual or individuals of special significance to an Acoma Drive neighbor. To further promote neighborhood unity, Jerry also arranges for a neighbor to host a potluck-styled “driveway social” for the neighborhood after the lighting ceremony.
The annual luminaria lighting event is highly anticipated by neighbors every year and has fostered a strong sense of community pride in the neighborhood. With over 95% of the neighborhood now participating in the all-white luminaria, Acoma Drive continues to live up to its reputation as “the street of a thousand glowing lights.”
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