Capitol Christmas tree visits GJ

Emerson Dyke, a student at Bookcliff Christian School, signed her name to the tarp protecting the Capitol Christmas tree as it made a stop in Grand Junction Wednesday morning.

Several hundred people gathered in the parking lot at Cabela’s Wednesday morning to get a glimpse of the Capital Christmas tree which was cut last weekend in the White River National Forest near Meeker.

“Isn’t it just beautiful?” asked Carmen Brin as she used her hands to shield the sun so she could see through the clear plastic that revealed just the tip of the 73-foot-tall Engelmann Spruce.

Others signed their names or wrote holiday messages on the tarp used to protect the tree as it is carried by semi-truck across the nation en route to Washington, D.C.

“We came down to get our picture taken with the tree and to help celebrate the beginning of the holiday season,” said Barbara Firth who attended the event with members of the Sons of Norway Vestafjell.

The tree was escorted to Cabela’s by the Patriot Guard Riders.

Mr. and Mrs. Claus paused in Grand Junction as they escort the tree to the capitol.

“I cannot tell you what it means for Colorado to give this tree as a gift to the nation,” said Mayor Bill Pitts as he addressed the crowd and explained that the City of Grand Junction had declared Nov. 8, 2012 as Capitol Christmas Tree Day.

Pitts also thanked the children of Colorado for making the more than 5,000 ornaments that will adorn the tree.

“We just want to encourage all of our residents to come view the tree and remember the beauty that surrounds our great community,” Pitts said.

Former Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell explained the history of the tree, nicknamed “The People’s Tree,” which started as a tradition in 1964. Each year, a different national forest is asked to provide the tree, and a number of companion trees for Washington offices. This is the third time that Colorado has been selected to provide trees.

The Capitol Christmas tree was on display in Grand Junction until 1 p.m. It will be on display in Montrose from 4-6 p.m. It will be in Cortez and Durango on Friday, Nov. 9.

A complete route list is available at

It will arrive in Washington, D.C. and be lit in early December.




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