California fir to be Christmas tree at nation's Capitol
This year’s tree will be a 60-foot red fir, to be cut on Nov. 5 from the Stanislaus National Forest near Sonora.
The state has held handmade ornament and song contests, and a child from California has been chosen to join Speaker of the House John Boehner in lighting the tree.
But before heading to the nation's capital, the tree will begin on Nov. 8 a 20-stop national tour during which people can place a small ornament or note on the tree.
The Capitol Tree celebration began in 1964, when a Douglas fir was planted on the Capitol Building grounds. A storm in 1967 damaged the tree’s root system and it later died. For a few years, trees from Maryland were selected to adorn the Capitol grounds.
Beginning in 1970, a different state has been chosen each year to donate the tree, which stands each Christmas on the western lawn of the Capitol.
In California, the tree will stop on the following dates and locations:
Nov. 5 – Sonora – Parade and Family Fun Day hosted by Tuolumne, Calaveras, Mariposa and Alpine counties
Nov. 8 – Oakdale and Manteca
Nov. 9 – Sacramento
Nov. 10 – Modesto and Merced
Nov. 11 – Fresno Veterans Day Parade
For more information on the Capital Christmas tree and related events, go to capitolchristmastree2011.org.
-- Sam Quinones
Photo: These firs stand tall in the Stanislaus National Forest. Somewhere in the midst of them is a red fir destined for the nation's capital. Credit: U.S. Forest Service via Associated Press