The air was cold and the light was dim when the forestry crew from the City of Lake Forest arrived at Barat Woods early Thursday morning. Their mission: to fell an enormous blue spruce for the city's 25th annual tree-lighting ceremony, which takes place Nov. 28.
At 45-feet high by 30-feet wide, the tree is a perfect specimen for Lake Forest's holiday festivities. Developer Robert Shaw offered it to the city last year (he's the white-haired guy in the lower-right of this photo). Many other trees will not be affected by the development of Barat, such as those behind the green truck, but surveys determined this one had to go.
City Forester Peter Gordon said local residents often call at the last minute to donate large trees to the ceremony, but he can only consider those trees whose owners are willing to wait at
least a year. In fact, Mr. Gordon already has picked out next year's tree, which was offered this fall by the owner of a property on Woodland Road in Lake Forest.
After forestry workers loaded the Barat blue spruce onto a flat-bed truck donated by Mariani Landscaping, they delivered it to Market Square. Next week's tree-lighting event is sponsored
by the City of Lake Forest and Lake Forest Bank & Trust and will include an ice sculpting performance by Art Below Zero from 2:30-4:30 p.m.; a visit from Santa Claus at Market Square from 4 to 5:30 p.m.; and caroling with the Lake Forest High School Choristers at 4:30 p.m. The tree lights will be illuminated at 5:15 p.m., and Aramark will provide hot chocolate, donuts and cider for all.
GazeboNews was on site (and gloveless!)to shoot the early-morning photo at Barat Woods, shown above. The photos below were taken by Barat Woods Director of Marketing Susan Layton, who followed the tree on its journey into downtown Lake Forest: