National Christmas Tree Arrives in D.C. From Washington State

Image: National Christmas Tree Arrives in D.C. From Washington State

Tuesday, 26 Nov 2013 07:13 PM

By Clyde Hughes

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The National Christmas Tree arrived in Washington, D.C., Monday from Washington state to take its place on the Capitol lawn.

The 79-year-old Engelmann spruce was selected in August, and made the 5,000 mile goodwill trip from Colville National Forest, stopping at more than two dozen destinations along the way, wrote CNN.

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The tractor-trailer towing the 88-foot-tall tree received a police escort in Washington, D.C. House Speaker John Boehner will preside over the illumination of the tree on Dec. 6.

President Barack Obama will deliver a message during the lighting along with entertainment by singers and a military band, according to the National Park Service. Between now and that time, the tree will be decorated with about 10,000 lights and thousands more handcrafted ornaments from people in Washington state, wrote CNN.

Jeff Olson, president of the nonprofit group Choose Outdoors, told CNN that public donations and corporate sponsorships have covered about $400,000 of the expense surrounding the tree. Choose Outdoors organized fundraising efforts to bring the tree to the U.S. Capitol.

The National Christmas Tree has been part of the country's holiday celebration since 1923, according to the National Park Service's website, although the tree has gone by different names through the years.

The National Park Service said after the lighting on Dec. 6, trees representing all the states and territories of the United States will be featured during the Christmas Pathway of Peace.

While the National Christmas Tree reached the nation's capital, the White House's Christmas tree, an 18-and-a-half foot Douglas fir from eastern Pennsylvania, arrived at its appointed destination as well, reported KYW-TV.

It marked the third time in 10 years that the Lehigh Valley’s Crystal Springs farm provided the Christmas tree, also winning the National Christmas Tree contest in 2006 and 2010, said the television station.

KYW-TV said winners usually have to wait four years to enter again, but when the 2013 contest winner didn't have a big enough three for White House this year, they came calling to Crystal Springs owner Chris Botek.

"When they couldn’t find one big enough, they remembered me," Botek told KYW-TV.

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