A popular El Cerrito tradition dating to 1950 – – is back again at its familiar hillside home along Moeser Lane.
The sprawling assemblage of humans, sheep, camels and buildings – all handmade over many years by the late Sundar Shadi to resemble a Biblical village – has become a locally famous attraction.
Volunteers, including local firefighters, put the display up Saturday morning.
"I was very happy because more people were out there helping assemble it than I've seen in years," volunteer Al Miller told the El Cerrito City Council during the public comment period Monday night. Miller, a member of the Stege Sanitary District board, thanked Mayor Bill Jones and Mayor Pro Tem Greg Lyman for being among the helpers.
Maintaining and mounting the display became a community effort managed by former Mayor Jane Bartke after Shadi died at age 101 in 2002. Shadi formerly erected it next to his home on Arlington Boulevard. This is the 10th year that it's appeared at the site along Moeser near Sea View Drive.
Bartke has said she may not be able to continue as the sole organizer for the display and has for someone to help her co-organize it for next year. Those who are interested can call her at 510-235-1315.
The display is lit and accompanied by music and volunteer guides nightly from 5-10 p.m. Its last night is Dec. 26. It will be taken down Dec. 27.