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Before the annual ceremony, check out some interesting facts you didn’t know about the tradition and learn more about Miss Christmas Tree 2016:
1. The first ever tree was erected in 1931 by Depression-era construction workers building Rockefeller Center. The first tree stood a humble–by Rockefeller standards–20 feet tall and was decorated with cranberries, tin cans, and paper garlands.
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2. The perfect tree takes all year long to find and often requires the help of a helicopter to scout. David Murbach, featured in the photo, chose the special Christmas tree for 26 years before his tragic passing in 2010. He said back in 1994 that the tree was on his mind every single day.
3. The tree-topper, a 9.5 feet wide star, is made of shatterproof glass and over 25,000 Swarovski crystals.
4. Last year’s tree was decorated with 45,000 LED light bulbs. Back in 2007 the switch was made to LED lights to make the tree more energy efficient.
5. The tallest tree on record reached 100 feet high, back in 1999.
6. This year, the selected tree is a Norway spruce found in the small town of Oneonta, just outside of Albany, and rivals the ’99 tree at 94 feet. The 90 year-old, 14 ton tree will be adorned with over 50,000 LED lights.
7. In 1998, the tree was lit by First Lady Hillary Clinton.
8. This years ceremony will host performances by Dolly Parton, Garth Brooks, Neil Diamond, Tori Kelly, the Rockettes, and more.
9. After the trees have had their time in the spotlight, they are typically milled into lumber for Habitat for Humanity to use for building houses. What parts of the tree can’t be milled is used as commemorative bookplates for The Carpenter’s Gift, a children’s book by David Rubel about the holiday tradition.