El Cerrito: Shadi Holiday Display cancelled due to pandemic

El Cerrito: Shadi Holiday Display cancelled due to pandemic
Photo Credit: Shadi Holiday Display website

The Shadi Holiday Display in El Cerrito will not be set up this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, organizers said.

“We look forward to returning in December 2021 once Covid-19 restrictions on public gatherings are lifted,” they said. “Until then, please view this video from better times and continue to support our efforts in display restoration by donating via the Donate link.”

The Shadi Holiday Display is a tradition dating back to 1949, when Indian immigrant and retired businessman Sundar Shadi placed a big star in a vacant lot next to his house, having been inspired to do so by neighbors who put up Christmas decorations. He then learned to handcraft the models of animals, people and buildings that characterize the display, with his wife Dorothy assisting.

“More than 100 buildings make up the city, more than 60 sheep are on the hillside,” according to the display’s website. “Sheepdogs and shepherds tend them, while the Three Wise men ride camels toward the city. An angel watches over the scene as the huge star shines over the entire scene.”

Shadi died in 2002 at the age of 101, but his holiday tradition that draws hundreds of onlookers every year continues on — even if we have to wait until 2021.