38-foot tree selected as official Stroll on State tree ahead of the festival’s return

Published: Nov. 16, 2021 at 6:15 PM CST
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - Signs that Stroll on State is just days away appear in downtown Rockford, starting with the installation of the city’s Christmas tree in Davis Park.

This year there will be 3 separate trees spread out downtown in order to keep the crows smaller and COVID-19 safe. 23 News followed the first evergreen as it began its journey to the heart of the Forest City.

Choosing the 38-foot beast of a tree took weeks for Stroll on State organizers. The search started in August and the number of candidates grew to 25, including the Guardino’s tree located near Springbrook and Mulford Roads.

The tree stirs memories for its owner Phill Guarino who planted the tree in 1955 for his parent’s 50th anniversary. He says, “It was our 50th anniversary in August, it’s a nice tradition to keep on going and keep on watching it grow every year as it gets big enough to decorate.”

To be a candidate for the city’s holiday celebration, trees must meet certain criteria:

  • 40 to 50 feet tall
  • Preferably be a Blue Spruce which can usually handle the weight of the ornaments and lights.

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