Capitol Christmas Tree Soon to Begin Journey to DC
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Believe it or not, it is that time of year again. This year’s Capitol Christmas tree began its journey from the Monongahela National Forest in West Virginia to the nation’s capital Wednesday morning.
That’s when West Virginia attorney and world champion lumberjack Arden Cogar Jr., along with longtime Monongahela National Forest employee Ron Polgar, used a crosscut saw to harvest the 63-foot Norway spruce, and then assisted as a crew lifted it with a crane and placed it on a specially built trailer frame.
Dozens of partners, sponsors and friends of the U.S. Forest Service were on hand to watch the big event at the national forest’s Laurel Fork Campground, cheering the tree as a light snow fell.
According to Gov. Jim Justice, who will host a holiday festival at the state capital next week to commemorate the tree and send it on its way to Washington, this is the first time in nearly 50 years that an evergreen from the state will be on display on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol for the holiday season.
But it won’t be a direct trip. Between this Saturday, Nov. 4, and Wednesday, Nov. 15, the tree will make a total 14 stops in West Virginia, starting in Elkins and ending in Harpers Ferry.
“We have the most beautiful forests in the country, and I’m so proud to see a piece of our state on display in the nation’s capital,” Justice said in a written statement on Wednesday.
“Babydog and I look forward to seeing a huge crowd in Charleston next week as we celebrate this honor and kick off the holiday season,” he said.
Next Tuesday’s event in Charleston will kick off with a parade and will include a number of free, family friendly activities showcasing winter offerings from around the state, including ice skating and a light display on the Capitol lawn.
The tree will be led to the West Virginia Capitol steps by marching bands from the local Cabell Midland, Capitol, George Washington, Nitro, Poca and Saint Albans High Schools.
In addition to vendors of all kinds, the U.S. Forest Service will have a station set up to allow attendees to sign the banner that will accompany the tree to the U.S. Capitol.
“With such a large portion of our visitors coming from the Washington, D.C., metro area, we are thrilled with yet another opportunity to showcase the beauty of our great state, and to mark the occasion, we’ve got a great celebration planned,” said Chelsea Ruby, West Virginia Tourism secretary.
As Justice said, this year marks the first time since 1976 that the Capitol Christmas tree has come from West Virginia.
Once the tree arrives on the West Lawn, the architect of the Capitol will be decorating the tree with ornaments and tree skirts handmade by West Virginians.
The architect of the Capitol’s office told The Well News via email that the 2023 tree is scheduled to arrive at the West Front lawn of the Capitol on Nov. 17 at 10 a.m. The Christmas tree lighting ceremony is scheduled for Nov. 28 at 5 p.m.
The tree, of course, will be on display to the public in the month of December and into January.
This story has been updated to include information on the 2023 Capitol Christmas tree's arrival in Washington and the upcoming lighting cerremony.