EVERETT — No doubt it’s too early to talk about Christmas, but moving an 88-foot-tall tree from Washington state to Washington, D.C., is a lot of work.
The Engelmann spruce was cut down Nov. 1 near Spokane. It eventually will stand in front of the U.S. Capitol.
One of the tree’s first stops was at the Snohomish County campus on Friday morning.
The tree arrived inside a truck and was wrapped in a bag. People could view it through a small window or see sample decorations displayed on its boughs.
There also was a board for people to sign, memorializing the visit.
It’s a tradition for people to sign the board at each stop, said Gayne Sears, a U.S. Forest Service officer.
Music for the event was provided by The Everett Chorale group, the Snohomish County Children’s Choir and Jenny Vick, a local singer-songwriter.
Art and Merilyn Rorvik drove down from Mount Vernon to see the tree. Their son’s close friend is part of the Forest Service team taking the trip, they said.
“I think this is wonderful!” Merilyn Rorvik said.
A similar celebration in Newport, Wash., drew roughly 3,000 visitors.
Children from elementary schools along the route have provided handmade ornaments. So far, an estimated 7,000 ornaments have been collected.
The tree was scheduled to head south to Olympia on Friday afternoon and reach Vancouver today.
The Capitol Christmas tree is expected to reach Washington, D.C., on Nov. 25. It will take about a week to hang all the ornaments.
“I am going to be so excited,” said Cally Davidson, a U.S. Forest Service employee who is traveling with the tree. “The tree is from my home.”
A team of 10 Forest Service employees spent three days harvesting the 50-year-old spruce and bringing it out of the mountains in the Colville National Forest. The project is paid for by a nonprofit.
An architect from Washington, D.C., came to help them select a tree. Then, the hard work began, including construction of the traveling container. The team worked in 12-hour shifts.
“We had to pull in every branch,” Davidson said. “It was pretty exciting. You don’t realize how big the tree is. It was so fun to climb in the tree.”
Davidson is in charge of watering the tree during the trip. She uses a pipe to fill a plastic bag that can hold 30 gallons of water, mixed with a chemical liquid.
The tree helps tell a story, she said.
“Here we can show what the U.S. Forest Service provides and it is not only the Capitol tree. It is also the people’s tree.” Davidson said. “People worked together, as a community, to cut the tree, and all of that.”
Where is it?
Keep track of the tree: http://capitolchristmastree.com;http://capitolchristmastree.com