Grayslake family donates tree to Chicago for annual lighting ceremony



Imagine being in downtown Chicago during the holiday season. It’s chilly and snowing in Millennium Park. The huge Christmas tree is lit, and everyone comes out to take pictures and watch the lighting ceremony. This year’s tree was donated by the Dorfler family of Grayslake.
“A month ago or so we saw an ad about them needing a tree. It had some requirements like the tree had to be at least 50ft tall, and ours was 62ft tall, and the tree had to be Spruce tree. It was about three weeks after we had found out ours had been picked,” Grayslake homeowner Darlene Dorfler said.
This tree has been there for a long time and has a new home.
“We figured out that the tree is about 70 years old, so it going to fit right into the Chicago home,” Dorfler said.
Last year, Dorfler’s husband, Frank Dorfler, passed away, and it was one of his dreams to use this tree for something.
“It makes me feel good because it was always his dream. He would’ve been very happy about it happening. Since it was such a beautiful tree, he would’ve loved for the people in Chicago to enjoy the beautiful lighting of the tree,” Dorfler said.
People of Grayslake are proud to see something coming from their hometown being put up and displayed for all visitors in Millennium Park.
“It’s awesome that such a ceremonial piece of Chicago’s holiday culture is coming from our town,” said senior Lauren Magri.
This is definitely a special memory that the Dorfler family will never forget.
“It is quite special in memory for my husband. My son and I are always looking for ways to remember him, and this definitely is the best way to keep him in mind,” Dorfler said.
The Dorfler family was in Chicago for the lighting of the tree and was involved in the ceremony.
“We were invited for the lighting and planned on being on stage. Everyone’s just so wonderful, and I’m grateful to be a part of such an amazing event. Sometimes I don’t even believe it’s happening,” Dorfler said.
Students visited the tree that was from their hometown over the Thanksgiving break.
“My family and I went down to Chicago, and we stopped by to see the tree lighting in Millennium Park,” said junior Jarod Hesse. “It was really cool to see how many people come to watch it every year, no matter the weather.”
Others watch the lighting ceremony annually.
“We’ve gone every year since I can remember. It’s a family tradition,” Magri said.
The tree will remain up in and lit, with an excess of 50,000 lights, in Chicago until early January.