"The kick off to the holiday season:" Milwaukee City/County Christmas Tree has been lit

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- A crew from Milwaukee's Department of Public Works Forestry Division harvested the annual City/County Christmas Tree on November 6th. It was lit on Thursday, November 20th.

The 38-foot Colorado Blue Spruce was located on S. Whitnall Ave. in the city's 14th Aldermanic District. It is the second tree donated by this particular homeowner. Her first tree graced Catalano Square in the Historic Third Ward for Christmas in 2013. Her name is Claudine Gorlick, and Thursday was the eve of her 84th birthday.

"It`ll be memorable. Some things I do forget but I won`t forget that," said Gorlick.

The tree weighed 3,800 pounds. DPW crews say the most important part was to move the tree safely.

"Everybody on the crew is a professional arborist for the Forestry Division, so they know what they are doing," said Randy Krouse with the Department of Public Works Forestry Division.

The trees are chosen after submissions from city of Milwaukee residents. The winner is chosen based on the quality of the tree, according to the DPW.

Gorlick says she watched her tree grow for decades, along with the other spruce she had previously donated.

"I planted those about 20 years ago. I planted them. They were little baby trees," said Gorlick.

Following the harvest, the tree received a Milwaukee Police Department escort to Red Arrow Park, located across from City Hall. Then on Thursday evening, November 20th, the tree was lit.

"This is the kick off to the holiday season!" said Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett.

2014 marks the 101st year of the Christmas tree celebration in Milwaukee -- the second oldest such celebration in the United States behind New York City.

Not long after the tree was lit Thursday -- a holiday celebration kicked off at Milwaukee's Pere Marquette Park. Organizers say it brings in about 5,000 people every year.