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For the first time, the Rockefeller Christmas tree is a Maryland native

For the first time ever, the storied Rockefeller Center Christmas tree will come from Maryland, organizers announced Thursday.

Next Thursday, the 79-foot tall Norway spruce will be felled in Elkton, and by Saturday, Nov. 13, it will arrive in New York City, according to the Rockefeller Center website.

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For the televised tree-lighting ceremony Dec. 1, the 85-year-old tree will be covered in about 5 miles worth of multicolored LED lights and topped with a 900-pound star.

From then on, the 12-ton, 46-foot wide tree will be lit from 6 a.m. to midnight each day, and all day on Christmas. On New Year’s Eve, it will be lit from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. It will stay up until Jan. 16.

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For the first time, the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree will be from Maryland. The 79-foot spruce from Elkton will be felled Nov. 11, and a tree lighting ceremony will take place in New York City Dec. 1. It will stay up until Jan. 16.
For the first time, the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree will be from Maryland. The 79-foot spruce from Elkton will be felled Nov. 11, and a tree lighting ceremony will take place in New York City Dec. 1. It will stay up until Jan. 16. (courtesy of Tishman Speyer)

After that, it will be milled, treated and turned into lumber that will be used to build Habitat for Humanity homes for those in need, continuing a longstanding tradition.

The Rockefeller Center allows anyone to submit applications for their tree to be put up at the foot of the Midtown Manhattan skyscraper for Christmas. Officials typically select Norway spruces nearing the later years of their life cycles, measuring at least 75 feet tall and 45 feet in diameter, according to the website.

Rockefeller Center did not provide any more specifics about where in Elkton the tree is coming from.

The Rockefeller tree has been a tradition for decades. The very first tree-lighting ceremony, which started the practice, took place in 1933, two years after workers at the center pooled their money to purchase a 20-foot tall balsam fir for Christmas and covered it in homemade garlands. The tallest tree to be used for the ceremony was hoisted in 1999, a 100-foot tall specimen from Killingworth, Connecticut.

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But in all the years since, none of the towering evergreens had ever been chopped in Maryland. Until now.

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