As crews began to saw away at the enormous trunk of the state's next Christmas tree, Friday morning, a large crowd of Jackson residents watched in awe at what they were seeing. They gasped as a crane lifted the tree from its home of more than 70 years, but that was just the beginning as crews spent the following two hours trimming the trunk and setting the massive fir on its side.
That was just the first phase of the process.
"We will put on some stands and get it supported and then, we'll have volunteers tying all the limbs together," said Steve Doty of the Department of Technology, Management and Budget.
After tying up the tree, it was fastened to a flatbed truck to take it to Lansing. The process took around six hours.
The area's last Christmas tree to grace the Capitol's lawn was taken from Grand Ledge in 2002. This year's 75-foot-tall concolor fir is the first tree ever taken from south of Lansing. Hard to believe it came from Anthony LaPorte's yard.
"It all was just something that came together three to four years ago," said LaPorte.
LaPorte's tree was finally selected a few weeks ago after several obstacles were cleared. It was a bittersweet moment for LaPorte and his family.
"It's going to be a void to the family," said LaPorte, who grew up climbing the tree. "But ultimately, will fill the hearts of the people who see it lit up at the Capitol."
The tree will be set up at the Capitol, Saturday, at 8:30 a.m. The tree lighting ceremony will take place in two weeks as part of Silver Bells in the City.