Capitol Christmas Tree tour starts Saturday in Meeker
The Christmas tree that will stand outside the U.S. Capitol building this year in Washington, D.C., will make an appearance Saturday in Meeker.
The Engelmann Spruce grew nearby in White River National Forest and will be shown in its native Colorado and 10 other states before arriving in the nation’s capitol Nov. 26, according to a U.S. Forest Service press release. The tour will begin Saturday in Meeker before moving on to 14 other Colorado cities, including Grand Junction and Montrose on Nov. 8.
Downtown Meeker festivities planned around the tree’s arrival will begin at 2 p.m. with a free 5K Capitol Christmas Tree Trot walk and run. A street fair will take place from 2 to 7 p.m. and a banner for the truck that will transport the tree to the Capitol will be available to sign from 2 to 5 p.m. Chipeta Lake Drummers and Southern Ute Cultural Center Dancers will perform a traditional dance demonstration at 4 p.m.
The tree is scheduled to arrive at 4:30 p.m. Saturday in downtown Meeker. U.S. Forest Service representatives, three Ute tribes, and government dignitaries will present the tree at 5:30 p.m. Fifth-grade students from Meeker Elementary School will sing patriotic songs as the town greets the tree.
Children can visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m., and singers will perform songs from “Seussical Jr.” at 6:30 p.m. The event will wrap up with a parade of lights at 7 p.m., followed by a fireworks show.
Participants in Saturday’s events will be asked to donate to Toys for Tots and the Forest Reforestation Challenge, which raises awareness about Colorado forests that have experienced fires.
The tree, not to be confused with the National Christmas Tree that goes outside the White House, will be decorated with more than 5,000 ornaments made by Colorado residents once it is placed on the west lawn of the U.S. Capitol Building. U.S. Speaker of the House of Representatives John Boehner will light the tree in a ceremony in early December.
This year’s tree is the third Capitol Christmas tree to come from Colorado since the tradition began in 1964, according to capitolchristmastree2012.org. The 2000 tree came from Pike National Forest on the Front Range and the 1990 tree came from Routt National Forest north of White River National Forest.