U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree makes stops in Columbia, St. Louis

7 months 1 day 7 hours ago November 20, 2016 Nov 20, 2016 Sunday, November 20 2016 Sunday, November 20, 2016 5:47:00 PM CST in News
By: Shannon Shaver, KOMU 8 Reporter

COLUMBIA — The U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree stopped at the Holiday Inn Executive Center in Columbia Sunday as part of its tour across the country.

This is the first time the tree has visited Columbia on its tour since 2010.

“We as the Mark Twain National Forest here in Missouri are hosting them here on this stop,” said Cody Norris, Public Affairs Specialist for Mark Twain National Forest. “Very excited to have this gem that’s on the way to the U.S. Capitol stopping by and being able to help share it.”

This year’s tree is from the Payette National Forest in Idaho.

Kim Pierson, a district ranger at the Payette National Forest, said it was one of 15 candidates.

“Every year for the last 50 years the National Forest Service has picked a tree,” Pierson said. “We actually have the architect of the Capitol come out from Washington, D.C. and he takes a look.”

The tree left Idaho on Nov. 6 and will arrive at the Capitol on Nov. 28.

Columbia is one of 31 stops it will make.

“We picked the route because we tried to tour all of Idaho, it came from Idaho, and then we picked national forests along the way and actually tried to share the message that national forests are for you to use and enjoy,” Pierson said.

She said at least 10,000 people have seen this year’s tree so far.

The tree is 80 feet long and 26 feet wide at its base. It is 84 years old and weighs 16,500 pounds.

“They’ll have to use a crane to stand it up on the west lawn of the Capitol,” Pierson said.

Those traveling with the tree are also traveling with 18,000 ornaments, made by people in Idaho.

The tree left Columbia for St. Louis Sunday night. You can track its progress here.

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