People's Tree makes stop in Tri-Cities

By Dori O'Neal, Tri-City HeraldNovember 7, 2013 

Evergreen trees and Christmas go hand-in-hand.

Keeping with that holiday spirit, an 88-foot spruce tree from Washington state was chosen to be this year's People's Tree in Washington, D.C.

The tree was cut down last Friday at the Newport Ranger District in the Colville National Forest and is headed across the country to arrive by Thanksgiving.

The tree makes a pit stop in the Tri-Cities on Saturday at the Three Rivers Convention Center in Kennewick.

The public is invited to drop by between 4 and 5:30 p.m. to see the tree, or at least the top six feet, since the rest of it is wrapped up for travel on a 105-foot semi-truck and trailer.

Festivities during the tree's visit include entertainment by local musicians and a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus. There also will be a banner to sign, which will hang on the tree as it stands on the lawn in front of the nation's Capitol building.

Saturday's event is free.

Each People's Tree is chosen from among the country's national forests.

This is the second time since the tradition began in 1964 that a Washington tree was picked. The first was in 2006 when a Pacific silver fir was harvested from the Olympic National Forest.

The tree is traveling with a handful of smaller trees from the Colville forest. Those will decorate offices in the Washington, D.C. area.

Also accompanying the trees are 5,000 handmade ornaments and tree skirts made by students, including some Tri-City Girl Scouts.

The tree is scheduled to be lit by House Speaker John Boehner at a ceremony in early December.

After the ceremony, the tree will be lit nightly from dusk to 11 p.m. throughout the holiday season.

To track the 5,000-mile journey of the Colville tree or for more information, go to www.capitolchristmastree. com.

w Dori O'Neal: 582-1514;; Twitter: @dorioneal

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