An 88-foot Norway spruce from a western Connecticut home was headed to Manhattan on Thursday to become this year's Rockefeller Center Christmas tree.

"It is hugely exciting and it's huge news in the neighborhood," said Rob Kinnaird, 58, an antique car restorer who remembers watching the tree grow outside his window as a child in Ridgefield, a community of about 22,000 people 70 miles southwest of Hartford.

"I have pictures of my mom holding me out by the tree," said Kinnaird, adding that seeing it at Rockefeller Center will be a perfect end for the tree.

The 9-ton tree is 45 feet in diameter. It will be set on a 115-foot-long trailer and hauled to Manhattan on a flatbed truck, where workers will start putting it up at Rockefeller Plaza on Friday morning.

The tree is traditionally decorated with at more than 30,000 lights and topped with a Swarovski crystal star.

The annual tradition began in 1933.