How a local tree transforms in to a Rockefeller Center Christmas icon

State College, Centre County, Pa. - AJ Spak, 9, exclaimed "It's this ginormous tree."

Clara Spak, 6, said in awe, "My mouth fell open when I saw it."

Saw the 75 ft., 13 ton Norway Spruce that is.

In 2010 Erik Pauze, Head Gardener of the Rockefeller Center in New York City Discovered it along Pikeview Road in Lemont.

"I came out for a high school football game and right there at 322 I got off the road and then I saw this tree off to the side," Pauze said.

And he knew one day it'd make for the perfect Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree.

And Jason Perrin figured it's a once in a lifetime opportunity to share a gift from his own backyard.

"You figure it's only going to happen once, so it's a lot of fun. I'm glad State College will be represented at Rockefeller Center this year," Perrin said.

On Thursday, 7 years after Pauze spotted the spruce, crews geared up to saw the tree down.

A process that'll make you feel like a kid on Christmas.

"I'm like 'Wow!' I see that in the movie, I never knew that happened in real life," AJ said.

First it's tied up for safe travels.

"And then there's this one limb that's totally like, broken in half," AJ said.

And workers slice through the trunk, leaving behind a smooth stump.

"And then they use a giant crane to move it over on to the truck which is right over there," AJ explained.

From there the real fun begins.

"Wow! Impressive, let's get some photos," AJ said.

"When you get it down to Rockefeller Center, you stand it up and everybody's smiling, then you know you got a good tree," Pauze said.

And the gift keeps giving; Once it's taken down in New York it'll be milled into lumber for Habitat for Humanity.

You can see it completely decorated on Wednesday Nov. 29th for the 85th annual tree lighting ceremony.


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