CHICAGO (CBS) — Chicago’s official Christmas tree will soon be on its way from Elgin to Millennium Park, after city crews cut down the big evergreen later this morning.
Gene Nelson and his family donated the 55-foot blue spruce to the city after winning the annual Christmas tree contest. He said he and his wife have been trying to get rid of the tree, because it has outgrown their front yard, and even took over the neighbors’ yard, but they didn’t want to simply cut it down.READ MORE: Darien Residents Stunned By Speed, Ferocity Of Severe Storms
“It was a landmark tree. It’s, like I said, the wrong spot, but that was where we told people to stop. Stop by the evergreen, that’s where our house is, and now they’ll just drive right by,” he said.
Though he’s sad to see it go, Nelson said he’s excited to be part of the festivities downtown, and will bring his grandchildren to Millennium Park to be part of the tree lighting on Nov. 22.
He was also impressed with the city crews who took extra care to prepare the tree for its big move.READ MORE: Chicago Weather: Rain Totals After Strong Storms, Tornado Hits Southwest Suburbs
“Watching these guys climb up there, and they’re up on the top of the tree, and all you see is the pole saw come through the top, and they’re measuring it, and then you hear voices from inside, and then all of a sudden you’re seeing this tree fold up, and then you see six guys on a lower branch,” he said.
After the tree is cut down, the city will remove the entire stump and landscape Nelson’s front yard.
Before heading downtown, the tree will stop at a sort of “tree spa” in Long Grove to be trimmed and fixed up before it’s installed in Millennium Park on Friday night.LIVE UPDATES: 130 Homes Damaged After Tornado Confirmed In Southwest Suburbs As Dangerous Storms Hit Chicago Area
The tree lighting event begins at 6 p.m. on Nov. 22, with the actual lighting at 6:30 p.m.