By Bradley Zint
9:04 PM PST, December 14, 2012
It's more like Snoopy Hall these days, now that the Snoopy House is officially underway, festively decorated and front-and-center this holiday season at 77 Fair Drive.
The 46-year Costa Mesa tradition — started by Jim Jordan and his family at their Eastside home — officially began Friday night with a little rain and cold winds, but with merriment about the short ceremony that included food trucks, Snoopy from Knott's Berry Farm, city CEO Tom Hatch, Mayor Jim Righeimer and Jill Schulz, youngest daughter of "Peanuts" creator Charles M. Schulz.
"My father always used to say, 'There is always room for innocence for our children to make memories,'" Schulz said. "This is what Jim Jordan and his family have done, and I thank you for that, and I thank all of you for keeping my dad's memory and legacy alive."
Righeimer also presented a Costa Mesa proclamation declaring Dec. 14 Charles M. Schulz and Jill Schulz Day. The Snoopy House display will be up from 5 to 9 p.m. daily beginning Friday through Christmas Day.
About 100 volunteers, including the Estancia and Costa Mesa high school football teams, helped put the displays together, and more will help take them down.
Among the additions this year are a few more setpieces, community-member performances and a choreographed light show over City Hall, which is hosting the Snoopy House display for a second year since it left the Jordan house in 2011.
"I am absolutely ecstatic about this," Jordan said about his creation's new home. "This is fantastic. They say when one door closes, another one opens. Well, God has definitely opened up a tremendous opportunity here."
Another bonus? A lot more room on the hay-covered City Hall lawn compared to what he had for 44 years at his Santa Ana Avenue abode. He also relished at the opportunity to meet Jill Schulz.
"It has been a dream of mine to meet one of the family members," Jordan said. "What an impact they've made on my life, obviously, over the years."
The city also had a tree-decorating contest among its various departments. All 10 trees were on display in the walkway leading to City Hall.
The decorating winner? The Police Department, whose tree had on its branches bows of crime-scene tape, handcuffs and toy police badges. Teddy bears rested on the bottom. It was topped with a siren light and police cap.
Among the attendees Friday was Costa Mesa resident Julie Quinn and her 3-year-old daughter, Alexa.
Quinn has been a regular visitor to the Snoopy House.
"It moved, so we moved with it," she said.
When asked which was her favorite part of the holiday display, Alexa — who was staying warm in her pink jacket — pointed to the nearest thing: an LGB toy train, resolutely chugging around its circular track.
"I like the train," she said.