For the City of Evanston, “putting up the Christmas tree” is more than just a family affair.
It takes the better part of two days and a crew of at least seven, says Assistant Director of Parks/Forestry Paul D’Agostino, to cut, transport and set up the evergreen that heralds the season in Evanston.
This year it was the Mancera family of Evanston who responded to the City’s annual offer to cut down a donated tree for free, then saw their beauty chosen.
The City took down the majestic 30-foot spruce on Nov. 18. Secured to a trailer, it spent the night in the Robert Crown parking lot.
Nov. 19 dawned still and clear, a relief to the supervisors and workers charged with moving the tree from prone to upright. When the truck pulling the tree rolled up to Fountain Square, the crew performed a carefully choreographed routine.
They bolted a hexagonal plate, custom-made to fit in the center of the fountain, onto the bottom of the tree trunk. Then, grateful for calm weather that made the next steps less treacherous, they attached the tree to a huge hook suspended from a crane. Standing ready, the crew watched the crane lift the tree from the trailer. While the tree was being lowered into place, they began centering the metal plate precisely in the hole at the fountain’s center. Then they connected four metal bars bolted to the edge of the fountain to steady the tree.
The City outsources the final task, hanging 2,500 lights. The Manceras – and a crowd of their fellow Evanstonians – will see their tree in all its glory when the lights are officially lit.