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Northville Man to Duel in Tree Decorating for Charity

David C. McKnight will compete to support Lighthouse for Oakland County.

David C. McKnight founded and owns special events company Emerald City Designs in Farmington Hills. Credit: courtesy David C. McKnight
David C. McKnight founded and owns special events company Emerald City Designs in Farmington Hills. Credit: courtesy David C. McKnight
Northville's David C. McKnight, of Emerald City Designs, will use his design expertise to help Lighthouse of Oakland County (LOC) kick-off the holiday season with its first-ever tree decorating duel Sunday.

"I truly, truly love giving back to the community," he said. 

The duel is a part of the third annual "Lighting the Way for the Holidays" at Birmingham's Townsend Hotel. McKnight, who has lived in Northville since 2003, will go head-to-head with Jon Gerych of Fenton's Gerych's Flowers & Events. Their task: to decorate a tree in less than two hours under the theme of sustainability.

McKnight, who started Farmington Hills-based special events company Emerald City Designs in 1993, is known for his philosophy of “it’s all about the details.” He said it was an honor to be asked to participate in the duel.

"Our staff embraces things like this," he said. 

They must use decorations that embrace the theme of sustainability, because a key focus of LOC’s mission is to provide sustainable plans and programs to help transition clients out of poverty. The duelers will bring their own ornaments and must use "secret ornamentations" that will be unveiled before the duel. These items will not be traditional ornaments but rather objects related to the theme. 

"We're definitely going to prepare. We're going to come up with different scenarios," he said. 

McKnight said he and his two lead designers who will accompany him work best when they're all together and the pressure is on.

The duelers are competing for bragging rights and the title "The Ultimate Flocker." The winner will be determined by a panel of celebrity judges and, immediately after announcing the winner, both trees will be auctioned off live to the highest bidder. Attendees will also vote for their favorite tree. The designer with the most votes will be crowned the 2013 Decorating Duel Fan Favorite.

The evening supports LOC's holiday programs that help over 800 families. Find out more about its work and how to purchase tickets or donate.

McKnight will also be decorating homes for the Northville Community Foundation’s Holiday Home Tour Nov. 15 and 16.

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