Story Headline: U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree Coming Back to Paducah
Author: West Kentucky Star Staff

This year's U.S. Capitol Christmas tree has begun its more than 2,000-mile journey from Montana, and it will make a stop in Paducah for the second straight year.

The 81-foot tall Engleman spruce tree was cut down last Tuesday in the Kootenai National Forest near Yaak, Montana. Forest rangers spent the next week painstakingly lowering the massive tree into an  8' x 8' plexiglass display trailer, eight inches at a time to avoid breaking its branches.

The convoy will make 15 stops between Montana and Washington DC. By Saturday, the tree will cross into North Dakota and Minnesota. Three stops in Missouri include next Wednesday morning the 22nd in Poplar Bluff at the Menard's parking lot.

That Wednesday evening, the tree will be pulled into the Noble Park ball field parking lot, the same spot where it was on display last year. It will be available for viewing during the kickoff to Paducah Power System’s Christmas in the Park. Festivities include the lighting ceremony at 5:30 pm, followed by a Walk Under the Lights that will allow participants to see the lights up close. There is no charge for the tour but bringing canned goods or cash donations for local charity is appreciated.

“We are thrilled that the U.S. Capitol Christmas tree will visit Paducah for a second year,” said Andrea Underwood, Director of Community Relations for Paducah Power System. “The visit and ceremony on the night before Thanksgiving gives families an opportunity to kick off the holiday season in a special way.”

Independence Bank will sponsor horse drawn trolley rides by John’s Pass Carriage Company. Lone Oak First Baptist Church will provide a shuttle service from the Park Avenue Kroger parking lot. All activities are free and open to the public.

The tree will leave Paducah on Thanksgiving morning, and there will be no more public stops for the rest of the route. The tree will arrive at Joint Base Andrews on Sunday the 26th, then will be installed on the U.S. Capitol lawn on the 27th, where it will be decorated.

Smaller companion trees also will be provided to decorate offices inside of the U.S. Capitol building and other sites throughout Washington, D.C., along with ornaments created by Montanans.

"The need is always there. We always hope that we have a great season and that we're blessed by good weather. We hope people enjoy coming out and contribute to the cause." Underwood said.

The official date of the Capitol lighting ceremony will be determined by the Speaker of the House of Representatives Paul Ryan.

Published: Monday, November 13, 2017 11:06 PM
Updated: Wednesday, November 15, 2017 8:02 AM