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'Candy Cane Lane'

As Tori and Derek Dougherty shopped last Christmas for a house, the red-and-white glow of "Candy Cane Lane" cast their future home in its best light.

Purchasing a dwelling on east Medford's Sycamore Way, the couple also bought in on a new holiday tradition. Derek Dougherty joined dozens of Kerrisdale Ridge residents who deck their rooftops, windows and walls in festive displays. The neighborhood's sweet, signature touch is wrapping nearly 75 trees along the sidewalks in red and white stripes to evoke candy canes.

"I really enjoyed the community aspect of getting together and all decorating at the same time," says Derek Dougherty, whose property faces Kerrisdale Ridge. "We thought it would be awesome to live in a neighborhood like that."

In its fifth consecutive year, the collaborative project originated with Lance and Sunni West, who several years ago wrapped red ribbon around the white columns of their home, near Kerrisdale Ridge's main intersection at Lone Pine Road.

Nancy and Elvin Hawkins, who live at the street's opposite end, liked the concept so much they convinced the entire neighborhood of about 30 families to follow suit.

A work party the Sunday before Thanksgiving transforms the trees into oversized holiday treats. About $100 in supplies — white plastic tablecloths, yards of red ribbon and bows — covers the slender trunks, plus a few utility poles. Neighbors are asked to donate $5 in addition to a few hours of their time.

"I can't believe how many people showed up to help," says 9-year-old Kiley Pauck, one of about a dozen kids who joined in and even served hot chocolate from a wagon.

"Not that many streets pitch in and wrap their trees like candy canes," Kiley adds.

The participation was a dramatic improvement over last year, when organizers scrapped plans to wrap the trees for want of more help, says Nancy Hawkins. This year, enthusiasts planned early, canvassing the block several weeks in advance.

"We were just hoping people would participate and get into the spirit of it," says Hawkins. "We really got kind of a chance to meet people over the years doing this."

Hawkins, 62, admittedly shows more spirit than most. She tours the neighborhood every few days and straightens the trees' bows. She yearns to twine costly solar-powered lights in the branches but takes pride in the arbors' striking daytime appearance.

"The trees don't make as much impact at night, but they look really neat during the day."

Hawkins is thrilled that after years of rural living outside Eagle Point, with hardly a passerby to appreciate holiday decor, her new home — 2690 Kerrisdale Ridge Drive — is the ultimate stop on the neighborhood's holiday tour. Wholly invested in the confectionary theme, Hawkins adorns her fence with oversized versions of the sugary Christmas icon. Signs along Hawkins' front walk point the way toward Candy Cane Lane and even advertise the sweets for sale.

"I got candy canes everywhere out there," Hawkins says, pointing to her yard.

She even wrote a song titled "Candy Cane Lane" to sing with family and friends during an evening of caroling planned every holiday season. Visitors to Kerrisdale Ridge can stop and hear the carols from 7 to 8 p.m. Thursday, rain or shine, Hawkins says.

Reach reporter Sarah Lemon at 776-4487, or e-mail slemon@mailtribune.com.

From foreground to background, Kiley Pauck, 9, Nicole Singletary, 11, and Quinn Pauck, 12, labored with other residents of east Medford?s Kerrisdale Ridge Drive to transform their neighborhood into ?Candy Cane Lane? for the holidays. - Mail Tribune / Bob Pennell