POWAY, Calif. (KGTV) - For the first time in its 31-year history, the iconic Christmas tree that overlooks much of Poway and Sabre Springs is celebrating Hanukkah.
Creator Tom Farley chose to design the tree in the form of a Hanukkah candle in honor of the deadly white supremacist attack on the Chabad of Poway synagogue in April.
"It's a Hanukkah tree, a Hanukkah candle," Farley told 10News. "There was a terrible day last April, followed by hundreds of wonderful days of strangers, and city leaders, and people coming together to be nice to each other."
Farley contacted the synagogue's Rabbi, Yisroel Goldstein (now retired), to ask his blessing on the idea. Goldstein responded "Let's push away the darkness with light," to which Farley responded "Have I got a deal for you. I've got a tree of light for you."
Farley searched online to see examples of Hanukkah candles. He settled on a traditional form, with a darker blue at the bottom, a lighter shade of blue in the middle, and white near the top. Above all, he put a cluster of glowing lights to simulate the flame.
The tree, which can be seen throughout the Poway Road corridor, rests on the top of the hill where Farley has lived for decades. It's made up of a radio antenna with the strands of lights attached. Farley used to bring in equipment that lifted him high in the air to raise the tower. However, after two notable close calls with perilous falls, Farley now keeps his feet firmly on the ground. He uses a crank system to raise the 50-foot long tower into place. The final 28 feet is telescoped up from the base.
Farley says he's touched by the many thank you cards and letters he has been sent over the years, including some with no street address, delivered despite only being sent to the "Owner of the Poway Tree".
"That's me," he says.