Photos: Tishman Speyer
A 79 foot Norway spruce weighing some 12 tons will arrive at Rockefeller Center on Saturday, December 13th. The tree, which is 46 feet wide and approximately 85 to 90 years old, was donated by the Price family from Elkton, Maryland. Here’s a bit of the backstory.
When Devon and Julie Price heard a knock at their door, they assumed it was someone looking to repave their driveway. As Devon led their mystery guest around the property to show the visitor their Norway Spruces, as requested, it became clear that their biggest tree might be destined for greatness.
Their mystery visitor, Erik Pauze, happens to be the Head Gardner at Rockefeller Center. He had spotted it from afar when driving around the area earlier this year in his perpetual search for the perfect tree candidate.
As Devon continued to talk with Erik, he quickly realized they had an amazing opportunity at hand, and now, their tree will become this year’s Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree, the very first time a tree from Maryland has been selected. “We never considered that our tree would be the one on display for the world to see at Rockefeller Center,” Devon shared. “It truly is quite the honor.”
High school sweethearts Devon and Julie moved to Elkton, Maryland 30 years ago, and have lived in the same house ever since. He’s a former United States Navy officer. She’s a retired school secretary. They own a few acres of land right on the Delaware-Pennsylvania-Maryland border, overflowing with the strong, sturdy Norway Spruce trees that have become synonymous with the Christmas season.
The Price’s tree will be adorned with more than 50,000 multi-colored lights and topped with a 900-pound, three-dimensional Swarovski star featuring 70 spikes covered in 3 million crystals. The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony will take place on Wednesday, December 1 from 7:00 – 10:00 p.m. at 30 Rockefeller Plaza in New York City. Once the holidays pass, the tree will be milled and donated to Habitat for Humanity where it will continue to be enjoyed for years to come as part of someone's home.