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Twin Palm Trees Light Up the Walnut Creek Sky

Estella and Mark Edwards employ Samoan-American tree climbers to string their lights atop 80-foot palms.

Mark Edwards is a big Christmas enthusiast and he is 6-foot-6 but, no, he did not clamber up the 80-foot palm trees and string the high light displays that frame his lot on Encina Camino.

Instead, he empowered his regular palm tree trimmers, Kite Construction, to string the lights last year and this year (in 2009, Mark and Estella Edwards tried to use a pulley system with fishing line to run the lights up to the top; that didn't work so well). The red and white lights rise in spirals to the top of the palms.

Kite Construction employs some Samoan-Americans, whose culture includes knowledge of techniques for scaling lofty palms. They have spikes on their shoes, a harness and use a cross-rope to shimmy up the tree, bringing the string of lights with them, Mark Edwards said.

Between the palm trees is a semi-circular driveway that girds a mature camphor tree that has an impressive flashing light display. There's a little bit of keeping up with the Joneses — a neighbor across the street has an extensive light show.

In the dark, some people mistake the palms for telephone poles, and occasionally someone asks why they have the right to light up the utility property, Mark Edwards said.

'Deck the House'

Walnut Creek Patch paid a visit to the palm tree display and urged the Edwardses to Twenty-four finalists will be chosen from 860 Patch towns around the country and then Patch readers will vote for the Best Decked House — with the winner scoring $100,000 to contribute to their local school district.

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