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Arizona’s largest Christmas tree arrives in Anthem, to be lit next month

(KTAR News Photo/Jim Cross)

PHOENIX — Arizona’s largest Christmas tree arrived in Anthem on Tuesday and it will take workers weeks to ready it for a lighting ceremony next month.

A truck hauling the 80-foot tree from northern California pulled into the Outlets at Anthem, located near Anthem Way and Interstate 17, about 6:30 a.m.

The tree was supposed to be lifted into place shortly after arrival, but strong winds put a hold on things. The National Weather Service said winds were blowing about 10-15 mph, but gusts could be as strong as 25 mph.

The winds were expected to calm slightly as the day went on.

The 16th annual annual tree lighting ceremony was scheduled for Nov. 18 at 5 p.m., but there remained a lot of work to do to get things ready.

“We’re very busy,” a man dressed as Santa Claus said. “The elves are going bonkers just trying to get everything made. The reindeer are getting fattened up and ready for the trip.”

As far as work in Anthem goes, more than 1.5 miles of LED lights have to be wrapped around the tree and more than 5,000 ornaments and bows hung from its branches.

The tree will be topped with a copper star, an homage to both the state metal and flag of Arizona.

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