The tree that will be featured at the U.S. Capitol this Christmas is from Minnesota, and will be on display Saturday November 8 at Cabela's in Owatonna.

The Cabela's Fall Festival schedule:

  • 9:00 - 11:00am  Capitol Christmas tree display
  • 9:00 - 11:00am  Food Shelf Drive and Coloring Contest
  • 10:30am             WWII veteran ceremony

Fire rings will be placed near the stage to keep you warm. Snacks and beverages will be provided. Cabela's appreciates the support of several local organizations including Owatonna Parks and Recreation and youth1st.com.

ORIGIN OF THE TREE; HISTORY OF THE CAPITOL TREE

The 60- to 80-foot-tall white spruce is coming from the Chippewa National Forest in north-central Minnesota, in partnership with the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe. The 1992 Capitol Christmas tree also came from the same forest in partnership with the band.

The search for the Capitol Christmas Tree began earlier this year. Search criteria for the Chippewa National Forest staff included a tree 60- to 80-feet tall, a full pyramid-like shape without gaps, healthy branches, a straight trunk, and a species hardy enough to withstand the trip to Washington, D.C. The tree had to be found among millions of other trees that make up the national forest.

The tradition of the Capitol Christmas Tree, or “The People’s Tree,” began in 1964, when then speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives John W. McCormack placed a live Christmas tree on the Capitol lawn. This tree lived three years before succumbing to wind and root damage.

In 1970, the capitol architect asked the U.S. Forest Service to provide a Christmas tree. Since then, a different national forest has been selected each year to provide “The People’s Tree.” The Minnesota Tree Growers Association will provide 70 companion trees to decorate the inside of the U.S. Capitol building and other sites throughout Washington, along with 10,000 ornaments created by children and others in Minnesota as a gift from the “Land of 10,000 Lakes.”