Tree lighting kicks off holidays at Daley Plaza

November 24, 2010 1:15:43 PM PST
A 70-foot blue spruce originally from McHenry, Ill., will light up with a flick of a switch from Chicago Mayor Richard Daley, actress Joan Cusack and others Wednesday.

The 4:30 p.m. lighting ceremony on the day before Thanksgiving signals the start of the celebrations in Daley Plaza, which is also home to the Christkindlmarket, a German Christmas festival; and Santa's House, a playhouse where children can get their pictures taken with Santa. They run from November 24 to December 24.

McHenry County tree decorates Daley Plaza

After 75 years, the tree was moved from McHenry to its place of honor earlier this month and will be lit as the official Daley Plaza Christmas tree.

John Colomer owns the northwest suburban property that held the tree, and he wrote the letter to win the contest to find a tree.

"A tree that has had such a long life and whose beauty has long been admired by so many in the community deserves to be recognized and be chosen as the 2010 City of Chicago Christmas Tree," said Colomer in his submission.

The Colomers' tree was one of three finalists narrowed down from more than 70 candidates during a citywide vote.

"The tree was located on a piece of commercial property that we hold, and we felt that [with] pending developments in the not-so-near future, or just the ravages of nature, it was time for the tree to come down, and we felt it would be best shared with the people of Chicagoland," Colomer said.

The tree was cut down and moved to Daley Plaza November 5. Colomer said even before the official lighting, the tree looked great standing in the downtown plaza. Colomer's whole family was set to be on hand for the ceremony.

The annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony starts at 4:30 p.m. at Daley Plaza. It will be the city's 97th annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony.

The ceremony planned for the day before Thanksgiving will include holiday music with the After School Matters Opera, cast members from Irving Berlin's "White Christmas" and Santa Claus..

97th Annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony
Daley Plaza
Washington and Dearborn
Wednesday, music begins at 4:30 p.m., tree lit at 5 p.m.
explorechicago.org/specialevents

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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