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September 30, 2011 > U.S. Capitol tree lighting

U.S. Capitol tree lighting

Entry forms for the statewide drawing must be postmarked by October 7

Submitted By Maria Benech

Children love Christmas trees and especially turning on the Christmas lights. Now imagine the thrill for the child who gets a chance to turn on the 10,000 lights that illuminate the 65-foot Christmas tree that's erected in front of the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C.

The U.S. Forest Service and its partners are inviting all Californians between the ages of five and 17 to participate in a drawing to win an all-expense paid trip to Washington, D.C. to participate in the 2011 Capitol Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony in early December with Speaker of the House John Boehner.

"A young Californian will have the chance to participate in the tree lighting ceremony this year because the Stanislaus National Forest is supplying the 65-foot white fir that will stand on the west lawn of the U.S. Capitol building. The tree is known as the "People's Tree" and is a gift from Californians to the entire nation," said Maria C. Benech, U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree coordinator.

The trip, which is paid for through private donations, covers the cost of travel for the winning child and an accompanying parent or guardian.

Interested participants must move quickly, however. Entry forms for the 2011 Capitol Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony must be postmarked by Friday, Oct. 7. Entry forms and other information about the drawing and the history of the U.S. Capitol Tree are available at

The website also includes specifications and shipping directions for handmade ornaments, which are being sought to decorate the Capitol Christmas Tree. Individuals of all ages, including artists and crafters, are encouraged to create and donate ornaments for the Capitol Christmas Tree. Ornament makers are being encouraged to use recycled or natural materials for their creations.

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