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VIDEO: See the Del Ray Christmas tree get lifted into place today

The Del Ray Christmas tree was set up at Pat Miller Neighborhood Square on Nov. 28, 2023 (staff photo by James Cullum)

After a flurry of activity, the Del Ray Christmas tree is finally at home at Pat Miller Neighborhood Square.

The 32-foot-tall Fraser fir was lifted by a crane and installed on Tuesday afternoon. It’s the 13th straight year that Bill Blackburn of the Homegrown Restaurant Group selected and cut down the tree at the Naughty Pines Nursery in Maryland.

Blackburn, who owns the Christmas-themed Joy on the Avenue pop-up bar, picked the tree the day after Thanksgiving with his family. The tree is not as tall as the 40-foot-tall Christmas tree in front of City Hall in Old Town, and won’t have 40,000 lights, but Blackburn said that the neighborhood-feel of a real tree is better.

“It’s not perfectly shaped,” Blackburn said. “But it’s a real tree for kids and the community to enjoy.”

The Del Ray Christmas tree and menorah lightings are this Sunday at 6 p.m. The free event is held at Pat Miller Square (Mount Vernon and E. Oxford Avenues) and includes singing, hot chocolate, and visits from Santa and city leaders.

BMC Builder’s Choice provided the flatbed truck to and driver to haul the 30-foot-tall tree to Del Ray, and Mike Dameron of Windmill Hill donated his cherry picker crane to put it in place.

“I think the Del Ray Christmas tree is a good snapshot of the community and small businesses coming together,” Dameron said. “We’re getting no city funds to procure this and it’s a real tree.”

Pat Miller bought a new star this year for the treetop, and the tree will be decorated on Wednesday.

“We’ve always put red ribbon on top of the tree and everyone says we needed a star,” Miller said. “So Maureen Schweers and I went to a local store and right there staring in front of us was our star, so we got it. Now we have a star.”

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