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The Capitol Christmas Tree is making its way east from Washington state and will arrive at the West Front on Nov. 25, the Monday before Thanksgiving.
Grown in the 1.1 million-acre Colville National Forest, the 88-foot Engelmann spruce will be the second-tallest tree ever chosen for the honor.
The spruce was harvested on Nov. 1, after a tree-blessing ceremony featuring the rhythms and cries of a Native American drum circle. Forest rangers sawed down the behemoth, then loaded it onto a trailer. It was wrapped over a period of three days before being sent on its 4,000 mile cross-country voyage. The will tree visit more than 25 cities before arriving in the District. On Wednesday, St. George, Utah, welcomed the spruce.
When the tree arrives on the Capitol campus, workers from the Architect of the Capitol’s office will secure it in the ground. Then, the AOC’s Capitol Grounds crew will decorate its branches with approximately 9,000 handcrafted ornaments donated by Washingtonians and designed to reflect this year’s theme, “Sharing Washington’s Good Nature.”
Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, will flip on the 10,000 tiny lights illuminating the tree during ceremony, scheduled for 5 p.m. on Dec. 3. Architect of the Capitol Stephen T. Ayers will emcee the annual tradition.
Boehner wished “good tidings” to the crew hauling the 85-foot trailer containing the Capitol’s “majestic spruce,” in a statement released by the office of the Architect of the Capitol.
The tree will be lit from dusk until 11 p.m. each evening through Jan. 1, 2014.