Crews harvest Milwaukee City/County Christmas tree

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MILWAUKEE -- The sounds of chainsaws were roaring outside a house on North 25th Street and Stark Thursday morning, November 8th -- prompting many people to step outside to check out the commotion. Officials harvested the 2012 Milwaukee city/county Christmas tree.

"I was up at 4:30 this morning looking out the window and the door seeing what's going on," Simone Olive said as she watched the tree being cut down.

Many neighbors were thrilled to hear a tree on their block had been chosen to serve as Milwaukee's 2012 Christmas tree.

"It's a great tradition. 98 years we've been doing this. This is my ninth one, so I'm just a pup, but it's a lot of fun. The neighbors love it and of course we're going to have this beautiful tree downtown," Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said.

The city of Milwaukee began its search on Thursday, September 27th for the perfect tree to be this year’s city/county Christmas Tree.

Officials say there are some strict standards for finding the perfect tree.

The ideal tree should be 30 to 40 feet tall, and must be accessible for harvest with a crane, meaning no overhead wires can be present.

Thursday was the third time homeowner William Love has tried to donate his tree to Milwaukee. Love says he can't wait to see it all decked out at Red Arrow Park.

"It was getting large, like over-sized, and I thought it might help brighten up some of the kids' Christmas," Love said.

Crews spent hours cutting down and hauling the 45-foot 7,500 pound Colorado Blue Spruce downtown.

The next step is decorating it.

"We've got around 4,000 lights we'll be putting on the tree, hundreds of holiday red bows, and a splash of gold at the top," city Christmas tree decorator Angela Niestuchowski said.

City crews will begin stringing lights as early as Saturday, November 10th.

The 2012 Milwaukee Christmas tree lighting ceremony is scheduled for Monday, November 19th at 5:15 pm.