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New Christmas tree displayed in downtown Austin

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Every year there's a Christmas tree on Congress Avenue in front of the Capitol. But this year it's a little different.

You can smell the scent of freshly cut trees even before you get out of your car. Evergreen Farms is back in business.

"Last year because of two years of drought we did have a problem with the number of trees as far as the number in the field so we didn't allow any cutting in the field last year knowing if we had any rain we could make up for it this year," said Michael Walterscheidt.

He and his wife are chopping down trees and packing them up for customers.

They've owned the farm for more than 30 years.

On Friday, they had a full house.  School kids took a hay ride, picked out their tree and got a chance to see it chopped down and ready to go.

It's that experience, Josh Mackey says makes a real tree a lot of fun.

"It was neat. The girls really enjoyed it. The weather was beautiful. You didn't have to worry about jackets or anything like that. It makes it feel a little more like Christmas," said Mackey.

Last Year, the Bastrop wildfire destroyed hundreds of homes and also burned thousands of trees.

Unpredictable events like the drought and the wildfires changed the downtown Austin Alliance's Christmas tree plans.

Instead of getting a real tree, they decided a brand new 45-foot-tall fake tree with 137,000 LED lights would be a better choice.

"Well with the Bastrop Wildfires last year the best route to go was to go with an artificial tree and that gave us two options one we could go to 45 feet which is the first time we ever had this large of a tree ad two we wanted to be sensitive to the fact that maybe it wasn't appropriate to get a native tree any longer," said Associate Director of the Downtown Alliance.

The tree will even have an extra feature. Ten different songs by local musicians will play at the top and bottom of every hour.

So when it comes down to it, real or fake, it's all about whatever it takes to get you in the holiday spirit.

The tree lighting ceremony will be held Saturday at 6 p.m.


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