Tradition in the making: Keg Tree construction underway

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Construction started a day later because of the weather

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The Keg Tree is here to stay. The Rochester tradition has only grown in the past six years, and the Genesee Brewery is doing even more this year to make it special.

Construction started a day later than expected Tuesday, after a delay Monday due to weather.

The number of kegs has stayed the same — around 530 kegs — but this year it will be even brighter, with more lights and more synced music.

The 12 layers of kegs, plus the light display, brings the total build to 27 feet tall.

“Head Keg Tree Elf” of the project, Mike Gaesser (who’s official title is Director of Packaging Innovation), says it takes about 15 hours of construction, and then another 8 to 10 hours of wiring for the lights.

They will be testing and rehearsing with the tree Wednesday and Thursday.

The biggest change to the tree this year is the lights; Gaesser says about 90% of the tree is rewired this year, and the grand total is a little over 25,000 lights. They’ve also added the color purple, in their quest to make the tree brighter and more colorful.

The actual lighting of the tree will be on Friday. The event official starts at 5 p.m. and runs until 9 p.m. with the lighting — and countdown — happening at 6:30 p.m..

The event will feature food trucks, heaters and fire pits, plus the return of the Keg Tree Ale.

The brewery also reminds people to bring coats and gloves, as the brewery is helping out the Mayor with the “Bring Christmas Downtown Coat Drive.”

Gaesser said this is like Rochester’s New Year. He’s seen it grow from 50 people the first year, to 900, to 3,000 then to 6,000 last year.

“It’s great that they embraced it here,” Gaesser says. “Never in a million years we thought that would happen.”

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