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Press Coverage

Decorative traditions

By TIM EBERLY
Fresno Bee
December 3, 2006

In the name of Christmas, pedestrians took over Van Ness Boulevard.

It looked like the set of a holiday-themed movie: The fog hung low and music came from nowhere as man and dog walked the decoration-lined road that leads to Christmas spirit.

It was the opening night of Christmas Tree Lane.

Saturday kicked off the annual tradition that began in 1920, and the lights will be on display until Dec. 26.

Saturday was one of two nights reserved for pedestrians; the other is Dec. 12 .

Todd Perruchon, 37, said he usually drives the two-mile stretch each December but lately has found more Christmas cheer on foot.

"I actually enjoy walking it more than driving it," he said. "I think you get a better feel for the Christmas spirit."

His daughter, 5-year-old Sierra, prefers the opposite. Her father pulled her in a toy wagon.

"Last year, she tried to walk, but she just ended up on my shoulders," Perruchon said. "She just gets tired."

Not far behind Perruchon, former co-workers Diane Blair and Anne Nash said they believed this year's decorations and displays were better than last year's.

"I think it's gotten a little bit better -- more lights," Blair said.

People brought their canine companions to walk the lane.

One of them, though, seemed to be attracting the lion's share of attention -- a 165-pound Newfoundland named Phil. Phil, with black, bushy hair, is so big that people had a hard time believing he was a dog.

"You just hear people left and right saying, 'It's a bear,' " Phil's handler, 19-year-old Max Hoyt said.

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