79-foot-tall Engelmann Spruce Shines Bright on the West Front Lawn of the Capitol
“It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas,” said U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, standing before the Capitol Christmas Tree at the U.S. Capitol. This year’s tree, a 79-foot-tall Englemann Spruce, made a nearly 3,700 mile journey from the Kootenai National Forest near Yaak, Montana, to Washington, DC, spanning nearly a month.
“As the Speaker officially opens this Christmas season, let’s rejoice in our freedom, in our liberty, and in the beauty that we have in this great country,” said Secretary Perdue.
U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan had the assistance of 11-year-old Ridley Brandmayr of Bozeman, Montana, in lighting this year’s tree.
Before Brandmayr threw the switch, Speaker Ryan said, “It is clear that this year’s tree represents the full heart and the full spirit of the Big Sky State. From the gratitude of the driver, Larry Spiekermeier of Plains, Montana…to the hope and the perseverance of our official tree lighter, 11-year-old Ridley Brandmayr of Bozeman.”
Arriving on the West Front Lawn on November 27, the tree was installed and decorated by the Architect of the Capitol’s grounds team. The tree is adorned with approximately 3,500 handcrafted ornaments from communities across Montana, and topped with a star made with copper mined in Montana.
“May the People’s Tree from under Montana’s Big Sky be a sign of good cheer,” said Montana Representative Greg Gianforte. “May it and the star adorning it serve as a beacon of hope that brings us together.”
The Capitol Christmas Tree will be lit from nightfall until 11 p.m. each evening through January 1, 2018.
If you missed the event, you can watch video of the lighting ceremony.