Paducah, Kentucky will welcome the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree for a celebration on November 22 as the tree travels from the Payette National Forest in Idaho to the west lawn of the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C.
For almost 50 years, the U.S. Forest Service has provided the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree to the nation. Paducah’s proximity to two U.S. Forest Service units, the Shawnee National Forest and Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area, created the exciting opportunity to host the tree.
A free, family-friendly event will take place Tuesday, November 22, between 9 and 11 a.m. in Noble Park at the parking lot next to the baseball fields. People can sign the banner that travels with the National Tree. The banner will be displayed as part of the holiday exhibit in Washington, D.C.
Various activities will also commemorate the tree’s visit. These include a visit from Smokey Bear and Woodsy Owl, in addition to Santa and Mrs. Claus. Photo opportunities with the official tree will be provided by the Forest Service, along with interpretive displays, nature stations and commemorative souvenirs. Holiday music will be provided by area schools.
Community and regional partners hosting the event include Choose Outdoors, Friends of Land
Between the Lakes National Recreation Area, Paducah Bank, Paducah Civic Beautification Board, Paducah Convention & Visitors Bureau, Paducah Parks Services, Paducah Power System, Shawnee National Forest and USDA Forest Service.
The tradition of the Capitol Christmas Tree, or “The People’s Tree,” began in 1964 when Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives John W. McCormack (D-MA) placed a live Christmas tree on the Capitol lawn. This tree lived three years before succumbing to wind and root damage. In 1970, the Capitol Architect asked the U.S. Forest Service to provide a Christmas tree. Since then, a different national forest has been chosen each year to provide “The People’s Tree.”
This year’s 80–foot Engelmann Spruce will be cut on November 2 near McCall, Idaho and prepared for the 2,000-mile expedition. Learn more and track the tree along its route at www.capitolchristmastree.com.
For more information on the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree event in Paducah, contact Paducah Parks Services at (270) 444-8508.