BrightView Finds, Transports, and Installs Chicago Christmas Tree

Industry leading landscape and snow services company chose winning Norway spruce

BrightView installs Christmas Tree in Millenium Park
A group of BrightView team members provided assessments of trees and then transported and installed the winning tree as Chicago's Christmas Tree. (Photo courtesy of Patch)

It just wouldn’t be the winter holiday in Chicago without the city’s iconic Christmas Tree.

Out of 120 nominations from across Chicagoland, Bill Scholla’s 69-foot Norway spruce was chosen for the holiday honor by the Windy City. BrightView hauled the tree more than 50 miles from Wauconda to its final destination.

“We provide the assessment services for (the contest),” said Tom Grant, BrightView Regional Sales Leader. “The city relies on us to be the horticulturist. They look to us and the expertise of our organization to make that decision.”

BrightView’s team combed through the submissions sent to the city’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events starting in October, attempting to find that perfect tree to display downtown.

Trees under consideration must follow certain criteria – it must be a spruce or fir, at least 55 feet tall, be easily accessible for safe removal, and be located within 100 miles of Chicago’s loop.

“Three of us go and look (at all the trees),” said Rick Corby, Branch Manager. “We try to determine what kind of shape it’s in. We take the top three and send them to the city of Chicago.”

From there, Chicago considers the final three and ultimately decides on the winner.

When Scholla’s tree was chosen, the BrightView team set to work.

We provide the assessment services for (the contest). The city relies on us to be the horticulturist. They look to us and the expertise of our organization to make that decision.
- Tom Grant, BrightView Regional Sales Leader

First and foremost, they spent several days securing the 6-story tree to prepare it to be cut down. Once it was ready, the process was quick.

BrightView cut down the tree, loaded it onto a flatbed truck using a crane, and transported it overnight to a BrightView yard 20 minutes away.

Overnight, the tree was taken south to the city, and finally installed in Millennium Park – its new home over Daly Plaza. The process wasn’t complete until 2 a.m.

Once in place, the city decorated the spruce with 48,375 multi-colored lights, ornaments, and topped with a brightly-lit star.

BrightView has been helping Chicago with the selection and transportation of their iconic holiday tree since 2009, but next year, the company hopes to move from a sponsorship into more of a partnership role with the city.

Scholla and his wife will be joined by Santa Claus and other guests on Nov. 18, at 6 p.m., for the 103rd Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony. The Scholla family will have the honor of flipping the switch Friday night.

“At the same time, the city turns on all of the holiday and Christmas lights around the city and there are millions,” Grant said. “It’s a big holiday event.”

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