There's a rare chance to see the massive evergreen that will adorn the U.S. Capitol this Christmas season as it travels 5,000 miles across America from the forests of Eastern Washington to Washington, D.C.
A special ceremony is planned from 10 a.m. to noon Friday, Nov. 8, at the Snohomish County government campus in downtown Everett, 3000 Rockefeller Ave. between and Pacific Avenue and Wall Street.
Spectators will be able to see the 88-foot Engelmann spruce that was felled Nov. 1 in the Colville National Forest north of Spokane. It's being trucked by semi for several stops in Washington before heading to the nation's capital in time for lighting festivities scheduled Dec. 4. It's being accompanied by other evergreens in a convoy of trees destined for a variety of federal office buildings.
"It's a gift from the people of Washington, so come out and we can all share in the 'Other Washington's' good nature," said Jen Knutson, a civil engineer with the U.S. Forest Service who's been tasked over the past year with coordinating the Capitol Christmas Tree project.
"It's very cool," Knutson said.
She said the Forest Service will have its mascots Smokey Bear and Woodsy the Owl, and the city of Everett is planning a festival that will include a children's choir and other music, plus food and craft vendors - most of which are Christmas-oriented.
Knutson said the tree has been specially wrapped and packed for transport, but visitors will be able to see about one-quarter of its evergreen boughs through a clear fiberglass enclosure.
Also on display will be some 5,000 Christmas ornaments for the tree that were hand made by Washington state schoolchildren.
For more information about the event, go online to capitolchristmastree.com - which contains facts about the tree and a widget to follow the tree as it travels across the country. Also follow the tree at its Facebook page, Capitol Christmas Tree.
If you're traveling, there's free 90-minute street parking in downtown Everett and paid underground parking on the county government campus. For families with children, the Imagine Children's Museum (imaginecm.com, 425- 258-1006) is pretty much around the corner at 1503 Wall St.
Robert Mittendorf is a Herald copy editor and page designer. Suggest your ideas for local family-friendly events, hikes or day trips at 360-756-2805 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.