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NYC ready to light up Rockefeller Christmas tree, which comes from Maryland for 1st time

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NYC ready to light up Rockefeller Christmas tree, which comes from Maryland for 1st time
The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree is lifted into place by a crane after its arrival in Rockefeller Plaza in New York City on November 13. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

Nov. 25 (UPI) -- New York City is putting the finishing touches on the evocative Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree in Manhattan for the traditional lighting ceremony next week -- and for the first time in decades, it comes from somewhere outside the tri-state area.

Instead, the tree -- a 79-foot tall, 46-foot wide, 12-ton Norway Spruce -- comes from Maryland for the first time ever. The scaffolding came down on Wednesday.

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The tree will be the centerpiece for the famous Christmastime tradition when it's lit on Dec. 1.

The last time a Rockefeller tree came from a state other than New York, New Jersey, Connecticut or Pennsylvania was 1998, when the tree was grown in Ohio. A tree from Maine was used in 1977.

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The tree was cut down on Nov. 11 and delivered to Manhattan about a week later. Next week, it will be adorned with 50,000 multi-colored LED lights on 5 miles of wire and topped with a 900-lb Swarovski star, designed by architect Daniel Libeskind in 2018. The star features 70 spikes and 3 million crystals.

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Devon and Julie Price of Elkton, Md., provided the tree but were initially hesitant to part with it when Rockefeller Center head gardener Erik Pauze came knocking this year.

"Honestly, we said, 'No way, you can't have it," Devon Price told WNBC-TV.

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Eventually, Pauze was able to persuade the couple that the tree would be shared with the entire world, something that Devon Price ultimately concluded is "quite the honor."

The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree is lifted into place by a crane after its arrival in Rockefeller Plaza in New York City on November 13. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI

"We were very surprised but we are happy to be able to share it with everyone," Julie Price added. "It's a special tree and it will be beautiful at Rockefeller Center and I hope everybody enjoys it."

Some local New York farmers were upset by the decision to go elsewhere for the iconic tree.

"Being a New York state tree farmer, we are firm believers of New York grown," F.J. Spinelli, who owns Airfield Farms in Newburgh with his wife, Kat, told the Albany Times Union.

"We are in New York, let's support New York. It's kind of disappointing hearing it's coming from Maryland."

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