The U.S. Capitol Christmas tree arrived in Washington, D.C., Nov. 28 and will be lit on Dec. 6.
An ongoing American tradition since 1964, this year, the great tree called fondly by its fans “An Idaho Mountain Gem,” comes from the Payette National Forest near McCall, Idaho.
The 80-foot Engelmann spruce rode on a big-rig truck adorned in festive red and labeled “From tree to shining tree.”
Keith Lannom, the Payette Forest’s supervisor, reminded the press gathered for the arrival ceremony that “thousands of LED lights and over 6,000 ornaments made by children in Idaho who used 20 pounds of glitter, will hang on the tree…” among other intriguing facts about the tree.
Harvested on Nov. 2, the Idaho gem stopped in 30 cities to much excitement, and in one location a group of women calling themselves “The Rebeccas” surprised the entourage traveling with the tree to an al fresco luncheon feast.
The official lighting ceremony begins at 5 p.m. EST Dec. 6 on the West Lawn of Capitol Hill with the Idaho Congressional Delegation and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan officiating. Fifth grader Isabella Gerard was chosen as Idaho’s student representative to assist in the tree lighting. She was awarded the opportunity after her poem, “Pristine Idaho Mountains,” was chosen at random in a contest that included over 200 entries from Idaho students. The ceremony is free and open to the public.
Source: USDA blog