Friday, Oct. 20, 2015
RAPID CITY, SD –For more than 50 years, a tree has graced the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol for the holiday season. The Chugach National Forest in partnership with nonprofit Choose Outdoors will bring this special gift from Alaska to Washington, D.C. for the 2015 season, involving more than 15 communities along the way, including an appearance in Rapid City on Wednesday, Nov. 11, from 9:30 a.m. to noon at Main Street Square.
The tree was cut on Oct. 27 near Seward, Alaska and prepared for the 4,000-mile expedition by land and sea. With great fanfare, the tree left the Chugach National Forest followed by a caravan of caretakers for the journey to the U.S. Capitol. 15 community celebrations are being planned throughout the tour, culminating with the official tree lighting in early December. Smaller companion trees also will be provided by the Pacific Northwest Christmas Tree Association to decorate offices inside of the U.S. Capitol building and other sites throughout Washington, D.C., along with 4,000 ornaments designed and created by artists and school children across Alaska.
Festivities being held while the tree is in Rapid City will coincide with Main Street Square’s Veterans Day Celebration and will begin at 9:30 a.m. with live music featuring Blackwater Railroad Company performing folk, bluegrass, rhythm and blues, and country music. At 10:30 a.m. the Veterans Day celebration will begin and will feature a presentation and a dance performance by Terpsichore Dance Troupe. Coffee and hot cocoa will be served throughout the morning presentations. Activities are open to the public and free for all to enjoy.
A Veterans Day parade will begin at 11 a.m. in Downtown Rapid City.
“We are honored that the U.S. Capitol Christmas tree will visit Rapid City on its way to Washington, D.C.” said Dan Senftner, Destination Rapid City president and CEO. “Our community looks forward to being a part of this gift to the nation and the joy it will bring to our own community this holiday.”
Associated costs are paid for in part by the U.S. Forest Service, while costs for the tree's transportation and special events are covered by in-kind services, donations and overall support both locally and nationwide, including major 2015 supporters Shell, Alaska Airlines, Skybitz, Alaska Railroad, Alaska Crane, Granite Construction Company, ReThink Wood, Truckload Carriers Association, TOTE Maritime Alaska, Hale Trailer, Kenworth Truck Company and more.