Downtown Milwaukee lights up in 108th annual Christmas tree-lighting ceremony

NOW: Downtown Milwaukee lights up in 108th annual Christmas tree-lighting ceremony

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- It looks like Christmas in downtown Milwaukee again.

Mayor Tom Barrett kicked off the season with the annual tree-lighting ceremony outside City Hall Thursday night, Nov. 18.

The tree is 36-feet tall. It's a Colorado blue spruce.

For many, this is the season of love, and so it's fitting that a love story brought this tree here. For 108 years, Milwaukee's done this. 

"Two, one, here we go," said Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett.

Just off Wells, Milwaukee's official Christmas tree holds 3,500 lights and 200 ornaments. 

"The Colorado blue spruce, the Cadillac of Christmas trees," said tree donor Mike Connell.

Connell would know -- it was his tree being loaded onto a trailer Nov. 2 outside the South Milwaukee home he shares with his fiancé. 

"So we are thrilled," said donor Katie Major.

The two threw their name in a hat, and the city picked theirs.

"It means a lot to be part of tradition in Milwaukee, 108 years, it's huge. We're very honored our tree was selected," said Connell.

But there's another reason Connell and Major are thrilled. This tradition is now part of their wedding story.

"Mike proposed in front of their Christmas tree in front of the house, what a guy!" said Mayor Barrett.

"It's been 11 magical years and I can't wait to spend forever with her," said Connell.

Next week, Katie Major will take her high school sweetheart's name.

"It's been a busy November," Major laughed.

And although they've given away the tree where Connell proposed, they're getting something back.

"At one point we decided, maybe we could get some branches from the city's Christmas tree and use that in a beer," said Tim Eichinger of Black Husky Brewing.

Part of the tree's been made into Black Husky Brewing's holiday brew.

"They said this one ran a little bit higher than previously, so we're in for a treat at the wedding. Oh, it's gonna be a fun wedding," said Connell.

"It's very robust, this year's batch came in at about 9.9%. So it's going to be a winter warmer," said Eichinger.

Their guests will get a taste of the beer next week. For the rest of us, the release is Dec. 4.

As for the tree, come on down and take pictures for your own love story.

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