A horse-drawn sleigh, an abundance of lights and more than a hundred neighbors make up the annual celebration.

For more than a decade, a neighborhood in southeast Hillsboro has kept up its eccentric holiday celebrations. Lifelong Hillsboro resident Danielle Barth said it proves that some people still "go big" for the holiday season.STAFF PHOTO: OLIVIA SINGER - The Barth family plays host to the annual sleigh ride in their Hillsboro neighborhood.

When Barth and her husband Cory moved into the Lexington Village neighborhood behind Century High School three years ago, they took over hosting its annual "HOA Sleigh Ride" each December at their home.

The event was held last Saturday evening, Dec. 8, but the tradition started 14 years ago, Danielle Barth said, and has continued thanks to a committed group of local residents.

"Some of us in the neighborhood were talking about it and we were like, 'There are not a lot of people that go big for the holidays anymore,'" Barth said, which prompted her to share what takes place in her neighborhood.STAFF PHOTO: OLIVIA SINGER
STAFF PHOTO: OLIVIA SINGER - The Barth's home during the annual holiday event.

Fees from the local home owner's association pay for the annual sleigh ride and celebrations. First, neighbors and friends gather at Barth's house for food and drinks, listening to holiday music around the fire pit.

Also set up at her home that evening is a horse-drawn wagon, or "sleigh," with Draft Shire horses from Van Dykes One Mile Shire in Yamhill County, which help to pull groups of people from Barth's over-the-top holiday decorated home to another more excessively decorated home a few blocks away — the Fitzgerald's residence, otherwise know as "Christmas Corner" — passing through the brightly decorated neighborhood along the way.COURTESY PHOTO - The sleigh ride stops by the Fitzgerald's home, nicknamed 'Christmas Corner.'

"We set up shop at our house and they literally take all the neighbors in a sleigh ride from our house that's extreme-lighted up to the other guy's house that's extreme-lighted up, and they sing Christmas carols on it," Barth said.

Barth said she enjoys decorating for the holidays. Other neighbors in her neighborhood feel similarly. Barth calls it "extreme Christmas lighting."

"Fred Meyer should be paying us for using all their lights," she said with a laugh.

The sleigh ride cycles through the crowd making sure everyone gets a chance to participate and visit both her home and the Fitzgerald's, she added.

This year, Barth had a special guest come to join: Barley the Hop — the mascot for the Hillsboro Hops baseball team.STAFF PHOTO: OLIVIA SINGER - Barley stopped by to visit the celebration Saturday evening, posing for a photo with Colin Fitzgerald who lives at 'Christmas Corner.'

At this year's Hillsboro Hops Banquet, Barth purchased a visit from Barley as part of a silent auction, and he stopped by Saturday evening to greet the festive crowd.

While the special evening comes around just once a year, it has helped shape the neighborhood and form relationships between its neighbors, Barth said.

"Honestly it's about the people," she said. "My husband and I are really about meeting your neighbors and living in a great community where everyone can put your head back from work and relax and have a great time. I think you enjoy your neighborhood more when there are events like this that happen."STAFF PHOTO: OLIVIA SINGER - Neighbors and friends rode on the 'sleigh' from Barth's home to the Fitzgerald's.

By Olivia Singer
Reporter, Forest Grove News-Times and Hillsboro Tribune
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Follow Olivia at @oliviasingerr
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