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Rockefeller Center Christmas tree is coming to town (shh!)

November 8, 2011 |  7:43 am

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A 75-foot-tall spruce from rural Pennsylvania will serve as this season’s Rockefeller Center Christmas tree.

So says the New York Daily News, which scooped the competition Tuesday with an exclusive report identifying the tree.

“Sources told the News that the towering tree at the corner of Fair St. and Kline Rd. 160 miles west of New York City will be the first from the Keystone State selected for the prestigious holiday duty,” the News reported on Page 2 of its Tuesday edition (and, of course, online).

Every year the selection of The Tree, the story of The Tree, the raising of The Tree and the lighting of The Tree are part of a widely anticipated ritual in New York. The ramp-up usually starts about now.

The people of Mifflinville, Pa., population 2,500, told the Daily News that the fate of the spruce had been a badly kept secret. But some locals, including the unnamed owner, were still trying to keep quiet -- apparently under orders from the Rockefeller Center public relations department.

In an interview, Mifflinville Police Chief Bill Richendrfer couldn’t even fess up about why his officers were guarding the tree 24/7.

“All I can say is someone has agreed to pay the township to watch the tree around the clock until Thursday,” he told the newspaper. “I’m not going to say why or who.”

Apparently, a group of arborists spent three days last week wrapping every branch of the tree to prepare for, well, possibly a move.

If this is the chosen tree, it will be adorned with 30,000 bulbs, crowned with a Swarovski crystal star and lighted on Nov. 30 in Manhattan at Rockefeller Center.

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 -- Geraldine Baum in New York

Photo: Ice skaters circle the Rockefeller Center rink in a year gone by as the centerpiece Christmas tree is raised by a crane on the plaza, all part of an annual New York tradition. Credit: Richard Drew / Associated Press

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