Mark and Dawn Densmore’s Candy Cane Lane display in Homestead sweetens up the holidays each year for hundreds of Maricopa families.
Vehicles swarm the cul de sac at the end of North Danielle Avenue as kids walk through a forest of inflatables and other colorful holiday splendors.
Along with their teenage kids, Elise and Eddie, the Densmores start building their bombastic decking-of-the-halls show right after they clear their yard of automaton Halloween monsters.
Candy Cane Lane has grown each season for eight years, from a lighted candy cane pathway to gargantuan inflatables and beyond. This year, Mark Densmore ran a wire from his house to his neighbor’s across the cul de sac to suspend a Santa UFO inflatable, giving off the illusion it’s floating overhead.
And Candy Cane Lane hot chocolate will be served beginning the weekend of Friday, Dec. 15. Thousands of sugary candy canes are doled out to all who attend.
Why do the Densmores go to such lengths? It’s simple. They just love making people happy, especially the younger ones. And in return, the family feels the love, happiness and warm holiday vibes from all who show up.
“The community response, the little kids, and excited as everybody gets,” Mark Densmore said, counting off the reasons why the family’s seasonal passion gets bigger and bigger. “People who are feeling down come here and say ‘Now, this feels like Christmas.’”
Candy Cane Lane’s biggest public notice came during the dark days of the pandemic, Dawn Densmore said.
“We’d get letters saying, ‘Thank you for bringing back the Christmas spirit,” she said. “They said, ‘We’ve been just so bombed with the virus. We just can’t do anything.’”
The neighborhood holiday display is considered by many to be the best in the city, and the Maricopa government has recognized it as such.
There are some fun surprises as well.
The Densmore living room has become part of the display, featuring at the window a replica “leg lamp” that many might remember from the classic seasonal film A Christmas Story. A path from the front yard leads people to it.
“Putting it up is so tedious and so much work,” Dawn Densmore said. “But this month, just the number of people that we have come through and the number of kids, they’re just so excited.”
Her husband adds: “We have families that come every night.”
Photo gallery by Bryan Mordt: