The 2012 Capitol Christmas Tree, a gift from Colorado to the nation, is a majestic 73-foot Englemann spruce cut near the Ripple Creek Lodge in the White River National Forest. It is now making a 23-stop, 3,000-mile road trip to Washington, D.C., with free celebrations in the communities along its route. After a send-off celebration in the town of Meeker on November 2, it embarked on its journey through 10 states, initially zigzagging through Colorado before crossing the state line into New Mexico.
The tree is scheduled to arrive in Washington on November 26 to be set up on the lawn of the U.S. Capitol. School groups and scout troops are already scheduled to perform when the tree visits in most communities, and the public is welcome. The big spruce’s cross-country odyssey makes the following stops, with some sort of free ceremony or celebration at each:
- November 6: Rangely and Steamboat Springs, Colorado
- November 7: Dillon and Glenwood Springs, Colorado
- November 8: Grand Junction and Montrose, Colorado
- November 9: Cortez and Durango, Colorado
- November 10: Pagosa Springs and Alamosa, Colorado
- November 11: Colorado Springs and Denver, Colorado
- November 12: Greeley and La Junta, Colorado
- November 13: Albuquerque, New Mexico
- November 14: Amarillo, Texas
- November 15: Dallas, Texas
- November 16: Oklahoma City
- November 17: Independence (near Kansas City), Missouri
- November 18: St. Louis, Missouri
- November 19: Nashville, Tennessee
- November 20: Atlanta, Georgia
- November 21: Asheville, North Carolina
- November 22: Concord, North Carolina
- November 23: Staunton, Virginia
- November 24: Allentown and Milford, Pennsylvania
- November 25: Andrews Air Froce Base, Virginia
- November 26: U.S. Capitol, Washington, D.C.
Once the tree is set in concrete on the Capitol lawn, the superintendent of the Capitol Grounds will spend approximately a week decorating it with Colorado children’s handmade ornaments. Ryan Shuster, 17, from Colorado Springs, one of the young people who submitted hand-made ornaments using the theme “Celebrating our Great Outdoors” has won a trip to Washington, D.C., in early December to light the 2012 Capitol Christmas Tree with the Speaker of the House.
U.S. Forest Service map.