Chicago's official 2017 Christmas tree chosen

GRAYSLAKE, Ill. (WLS) -- A 62-foot Norway spruce in north suburban Grayslake has been selected to be Chicago's official Christmas tree. The tree is all packaged up and ready for its 50-mile trip from Grayslake to the Loop where it will be lit in just a few weeks.

It's a Chicago tradition. This will be the 104th year the City of Chicago has had an Official Christmas Tree.

Chicago's first Christmas tree was lit in 1913 on Christmas Eve in Grant Park.

The lighting of the official tree has gotten earlier in the season over the years and with bigger celebrations.

For a number of years, multiple pine trees were used to create one giant Christmas Tree like the one in 2008.

But ever since 2009, one single tree has been selected as the official Christmas Tree of Chicago.

Last year's ceremony in Millennium Park featured a Norway spruce from Wauconda.

This year another Norway spruce from Grayslake will be the center piece in Millennium Park.

The tree belongs to Darlene Dorfler.

"It's an honor to have your tree selected for such a special thing," said Darlene Dorfler.

There were 71 entries submitted, but the 62-foot tree which was already bundled up and ready for transport on Wednesday was selected.

The tree will be cut on Thursday and then transported downtown.

For Darlene and her late husband, who passed away last year, the tree has special meaning.

"It was perfectly shaped and everything so he often looked at and says it should be a Christmas tree somewhere," she said.

The tree is believed to have been planted around 1940 by the Olson family.

Darlene and her husband were neighbors to the Olson's when they moved next door in 1975. They purchased the property where the tree stands from the last member of Olson family, Arlene.

"She too loved that tree. She would just always say at Christmastime, I wish it could be lit up," said Dorfler.

Darlene and her family will get to light the tree in Millennium Park of Friday, Nov 17, which would have also been her and Frank's 55th wedding anniversary.

It will be a special moment for her and her family at official tree lighting ceremony on Friday, November 17th in Millennium Park at 6 p.m.
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