US Capitol tree rolling through Steamboat on Tuesday
November 2, 2012
Steamboat Springs — An extra dose of patriotism and holiday cheer will be present in Steamboat Springs on Election Day, when a semitrailer pulls the U.S. Capitol Christmas tree through town.
The Mainstreet Steamboat Springs group has helped organize a public viewing of the tree from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at Brent Romick Rodeo Arena.
"It's very exciting that it's coming through," said Tracy Barnett, manager of the Mainstreet group. "It's a rare opportunity. We haven't had a national tree come from Colorado since 2000."
The 73-foot Engelmann spruce was harvested Friday from the White River National Forest about 40 miles east of Meeker on a site used by the Ripple Creek Lodge. From there, the 74-year-old tree, which has a trunk diameter of 28 inches, was wrapped and began its trip to Washington, D.C., on a custom-decorated truck driven by former U.S. Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell.
Barnett said that in addition to being able to view the tree, people can visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus, purchase commemorative ornaments and drink hot chocolate. Mainstreet is encouraging residents to put on their ugliest Christmas sweater for a community photo that will be taken at 6:30 p.m.
During its trip to Washington, D.C., the tree will travel more than 3,000 miles throughout 23 days and stop in about 30 cities and towns. According to a press release, the tree will be placed on the west lawn of the U.S. Capitol and decorated with more than 5,000 ornaments handmade by Colorado children and Native American Indian Tribes depicting the theme of "Celebrating the Great Outdoors." The tree-lighting ceremony will take place in early December.
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After leaving Steamboat, the tree will continue its Colorado tour with stops in Dillon (Wednesday), Grand Junction and Montrose (Thursday), Cortez and Durango (Friday), Pagosa and Alamosa (Nov. 10), Colorado Springs and Denver (Nov. 11) and Greeley and La Junta (Nov. 12).
The tree is being moved by the U.S. Forest Service with help from their nonprofit partner, Choose Outdoors.
The tree's tour events and transportation costs are paid for through donations. For more information, visit http://www.capitolchristmastree2012.com.
To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247 or email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com
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