Rockefeller Center Christmas tree, from Pennsylvania, lights up tonight
The annual holiday celebration comes amid news that Matt Lauer, who had been slated to host the event, had been fired for sexual misconduct allegations.
The roots of New York City's holiday traditions run deep but the roots of this year's star Christmas attraction — the tree at Rockefeller Center — grew deep in State College, Pa.
The lighting ceremony for what is, perhaps, the country's most famous Christmas tree is scheduled for Wednesday night. However, some details remain uncertain in light of NBC's announcement Wednesday that Matt Lauer, who was to be an emcee at the annual event, had been fired over an allegation of inappropriate sexual behavior.
As of noon Wednesday, Lauer was still listed as a host for the event on NBC's website. But an NBC source confirmed that Lauer would not be hosting the ceremony and the fired host was not mentioned during promotions for the event on Wednesday's Today show. Savannah Guthrie, Hoda Kotb and Al Roker will emcee, with no one replacing Lauer.
The 75-foot Norway spruce tree made its way through the streets of New York City on a flatbed truck Nov. 11, signaling the beginning of the Christmas season in the Big Apple.
It took six minutes to cut down the 12.5-ton tree in State College on Nov. 9, according to PennLive. Rockefeller Center's head gardener saw the tree, believed to be about 80 years old, in Gettysburg Area School Superintendent Jason Perrin's yard as he was driving to a Pennsylvania State University football game in 2010.
On the Today Show on Nov. 11, host Kristen Welker, a Philly native who was married here earlier this year, said she was excited to be able to witness the famous tree's arrival, a New York City tradition since 1931.
This is only the third time the Rockefeller Center tree has come from Pennsylvania. The two others were harvested in Danville in 2014 and Mifflinville in 2011. After their holiday duties, those trees were used in the construction of at least seven Habitat for Humanity homes in Philadelphia.
The tree-lighting ceremony is slated to be broadcast at 7 p.m. Wednesday on NBC. The first time the lighting ceremony was televised was in 1951 on The Kate Smith Show.
Staff writer Rob Tornoe contributed to this report.