Charlottesville resident donates tree for Grand Illumination

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CHARLOTTESVILLE,Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- All that sits in Dwayne Ferguson's backyard is a tree stump. It's a gentle reminder of where a 19-year-old, 30-foot Norway Spruce tree used to reside.

For 11 years, Ferguson has called Sheridan Avenue home and for 11 years he's watched the massive tree grow, but this year he decided it was time to part ways with his backyard staple.

"It was taking up my whole yard," said Ferguson. "It was time to get rid of it."

Ferguson donated the tree to the City of Charlottesville.

The tree that once took up much of Ferguson's backyard now has a home on the Downtown Mall for the holiday season.

City crews cut down the tree in Ferguson's yard and installed it at Central Place near the Paramount Theatre.

"It was a good situation where it was donated," said Ferguson. "It wasn't just cut down for no reason."

The tree is now draped with more than 20,000 lights and officially deemed Charlottesville's 2017 holiday tree.

"It's been really exciting, especially after the year we've had," said Ferguson. "Hopefully it will bring a little joy to the community and excitement."

The tree will spread holiday cheer throughout the community, as many excited adults and children pack onto the Downtown Mall on Friday night to see it light up for the first time.

The event starts at 5:30 p.m., the tree lights up at 8 p.m., and 8:30 p.m. the Paramount Theatre is showing "A Christmas Story."

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