Chicago's official Christmas tree revealed, lighting ceremony returns to in-person event

51-foot Blue Spruce donated by Benavides family in the Logan Square
CHICAGO (WLS) -- The 108th annual City of Chicago Christmas tree was revealed on Friday morning.

Officials released a photo of the 51 foot Blue Spruce which comes from the Benavides family in the Logan Square neighborhood.

Crews cut the tree down from their yard at 9:30 a.m. Friday. it will be moved it to Millennium Park Monday.

"I started tearing, especially when they removed it and I saw that it was bare," said Noemi Benavides. "I was like, oh my God, what did I do? This has always been a part."

The tree comes from the family's front yard, at the home in Logan Square where they've lived for 35 years.

"My thing was when we started to get bad weather a lot, it was too tall and my concern is it falling in the wrong direction, causing a lot of damage," Mario Benavides said. "Why not donate it?"

The Colorado blue spruce was chosen by the city's Department of Cultural Affairs and Events to become the city's 108th Christmas tree. The family re-submitted the tree, which didn't make the cut last year.

"This is actually the second year in the row that the city tree will come from a Chicago neighborhood, so it makes us really happy to be able to celebrate the city and the residents," said Deputy Commissioner Nancy Villafranca.

The tree has stood in the neighborhood for about 46 years, and while the family has some mixed emotions about letting it go, Noemi said she knows it was the right thing to do.

"The lighting is on my birthday," she said. "It's perfect, perfect timing, so it's meant to be."

The lighting ceremony is scheduled for November 19th and returns to an in-person event.

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According to the city, this year's event has been expanded and reimagined to provide more space and opportunities for guests to participate. It includes multiple viewing locations with screens and concessions across Millennium Park and a main stage on the Great Lawn with the traditional tree lighting ceremony starting at 6 p.m.

It will be followed by fireworks and a special concert headlined by singer-songwriter Brian McKnight.
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