The giant tree has been felled. A logger named Joe Batchelor had the honor of the final cut on Wednesday morning.
Now a 100-foot Douglas fir from Swamp Mountain, Oregon is on its way to Kansas City where it will be this year’s Mayor’s Christmas Tree at Crown Center Square.
It’s scheduled to arrive, as tradition dictates, on the first Thursday in November, Nov. 2.
The annual lighting ceremony will take place at 5:30 p.m. Nov. 24.
The tree has been growing for at least the last 50, 60 years on Swamp Mountain near Cascadia, according to the Democrat-Herald in Albany, Oregon.
The state is one of the top Christmas tree producing states in the country.
“A representative from Hallmark flies out and picks out two years’ worth of trees at a time,” Kevin VanCleave, forestry engineer with Cascade Timber Consulting, told the newspaper. “Dale Middlestadt with RAM Trucking and Milt Moran, from our company, have already looked over a number of trees for her to look at when she arrives.”
Next year’s tree has already been chosen, about two miles away from where this year’s tree stood.
As Hallmark’s tree rep judges the forest’s offerings, she’s particularly keen on the top 20 feet, VanCleave said. “They want the limbs at the top of the tree to be pointing upward,” he said. “Hundreds of boughs will be added to the lower portion of the tree to fill it in.”
This year about 800 boughs were packed up with the tree on the tractor-trailer that will make the 1,800-mile journey to Missouri.
“We don’t often ship a 100- to 140-foot-long tree in one piece,” VanCleave said. “We have to consider a landing area where we can set up the crane and how curvy the road is and whether a truck and trailer of that size can maneuver it.”
The tree used to be shipped by train, said Middlestadt, who has driven the tree to Kansas City about 15 times. “But it wasn’t always green when it arrived.”
Middlestadt said he likes that ornaments are made every year from the trunks of the trees after the season and sold to raise money for the Mayor’s Christmas Tree Fund, a non-profit that assists thousands of senior citizens, children and people with disabilities each year.
The 2017 Mayor’s Christmas Tree Ornament, designed by Hallmark, is called “Skate Away.”
It can be pre-ordered for $13.95 plus tax. Call Crown Center Customer Service at 816-274-7251 for more information.