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Good-Bye to Shadi Holiday Display for Another Year

As they do every year on Dec. 27, volunteers gathered to remove and load up the handmade Bethlehem-type village created by the late Sundar Shadi that appears yearly on an El Cerrito hillside along Moeser Lane.


We'd like to thank Janet Enos for contributing the attached photos from this year's removal of the Shadi Holiday Display in El Cerrito on Thursday.

The display – a sprawling Biblical village replete with dozens of buildings, sheep, humans, camels and an angel – is a locally famous seasonal landmark. By tradition, it's taken down on Dec. 27 every year.

The display began in 1950, when the late Sundar Shadi placed a single star in his yard. It gradually grew as he added more of the handmade folk-art pieces year by year. He stopped erecting it when he became too old in 1997, and no one at that time knew whether it would ever be seen again.

In 2002, El Cerrito resident Jane Bartke, with a key assist from her husband Rich, saved the collection from being sold off and successfully organized the effort to the display resume that year.

This year, the Bartkes and other long-time volunteers, were assisted by a new crop of organizers who've agreed to step forward to take over the task of overseeing it.

Jane Bartke December 29, 2012 at 07:55 PM
A special thank you to al the volunteers and firemen that showed up to help us take down the display. We managed to finish in 2 hours, and couldn't do it without the help of all.
Kathy A. December 29, 2012 at 10:06 PM
We are really grateful for all your hard work, Jane, and that of the many other volunteers! Mr. Shadi was a treasure, and it is so good to see his display return each year.
Dorothy Coakley December 29, 2012 at 11:03 PM
Yes, Jane thank you for working so hard to preserve this El Cerrito tradition. Mr. Shadi (and his family) were friends, classmates and neighbors to so many of us. It is wonderful that this tradition can continue on our "tiny town" hillside. Thanks!

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