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Nathan Burton/Taos News

Juan Lopez with the Town of Taos installs the star atop the 54-foot living tree from Carson National Forest on Taos Plaza on Tuesday (Nov. 23).

The Town of Taos installed the annual Christmas tree in Taos Plaza on Tuesday (Nov. 23), just in time for the holidays.

The 54-foot tree, which is the tallest one brought to the plaza yet, comes from the Carson National Forest, thanks to a collaboration between Taos Mayor Dan Barrone and the New Mexico Forestry Division.

Picked from an area near Hopewell, Barrone said he made several trips to the forest hoping to find the right one. This year marks the fifth season Barrone has taken it upon himself to find a tree worthy of lighting up Taos Plaza.

After a previously decorated Douglas fir gifted by Taos Pueblo died about six years ago, Barrone decided to pick up the tradition, bringing in trees from different areas of the Carson National Forest that were already being maintained by forest crews. After locating the tree in an area where forest machinery was already present, Barrone said the equipment failed, and they were forced to bring in another machine to extract the tree.

“It's all worth it. It's all for the community. It's about giving back to our community,” he said. “It's a great opportunity for especially our young grandsons and granddaughters to be part of this. It's about teaching them to give back to the community.”

Mitch Miller, director of facilities and events for the Town of Taos said town staff will be attending to the tree throughout the coming days in order to decorate it.

Miller said the decorations this year will be a little different, but will still include the classic garlands, lights and large ornaments. “This year, we’re going to light it vertically,” he said. “Last year, for example, we wrapped the tree in a conical shape, and we lit it that way. This year, it's going to be vertical from the top down.”

Additional snowflake decorations and a tree topper will be put on as well.

Miller said the tree was so big, they were forced to cut 4 feet from the trunk and several inches away from the sides in order to make it fit in the base.

Thanks to help from MTM Crane Service, the tree was successfully installed Tuesday afternoon.

The official lighting of the tree (thanks to help from Kit Carson Electric Cooperative) will take place on Dec. 3 at 6 p.m.

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