Posted 6 months ago in Fun for Free by Tyler Walters
It just wouldn’t be the winter holidays in Chicago without the city’s iconic Christmas Tree.
Out of over 65 nominations from across Chicagoland, the Orth Family’s 60-foot, 8,400-pound, and 48-year-old Norway Spruce was chosen for the holiday honor by the Windy City. BrightView, a commercial landscaping company, hauled the tree from Elmhurst to its final destination at Millenium Park.
BrightView’s team combed through the submissions sent to the city’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events starting in October, attempting to find that perfect tree to display downtown.
Trees under consideration must follow specific criteria – it must be a spruce or fir, at least 55 feet tall, be easily accessible for safe removal, and be located within 100 miles of Chicago’s Loop.
“Three of us go and look (at all the trees),” said Rick Corby, BrightView Senior Account Manager. “We try to determine what kind of shape it’s in. We take the top three and send them to the city of Chicago.”
From there, Chicago considers the final three and ultimately decides on the winner.
When Orth’s tree was chosen, the BrightView team set to work.
First and foremost, the tree had to be secured. A team of six men was assembled, and over the course of three days they climbed into the tree and tied up each branch (similar to sending a tree through a netting machine).
Once secured, BrightView cut the tree at the bottom and lifted it onto a flat-bed truck using a 60-ton crane. That same day BrightView transported the tree back to Long Grove, about 35 minutes away from Millennium Park.
The following night, the team left Long Grove and made their way to Millenium Park to set the tree in place. The area where the tree stands is on top of an underground parking garage that cannot be driven on, so the 60-ton crane was exchanged for a 165-ton crane, and the tree was nestled in just 90 feet from Michigan Avenue.
Once in place, the city decorated the spruce with ornaments and 48,350 LED lights. A brightly lit star sits atop the tree, illuminated by another 500 lights.
On November 16 at 6 p.m., the Orth Family will be joined by Santa Claus and other guests for the 105th Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony, including a fireworks show. The Orth family will have the honor of flipping the switch Friday night, marking the beginning of a bright season.
BrightView has been helping Chicago with the selection and transportation of their iconic holiday tree since 2009. “We are very proud to partner with the City of Chicago on such a large project,” said Tyler Walters, BrightView’s business developer. “It’s a wonderful opportunity to bring joy to the many residents and visitors of Chicago during the holiday season.”