TRANSYLVANIA COUNTY, N.C. (WSPA) – Getting into the holiday spirit comes in many forms. This year a portion of the festivities began in Western North Carolina.
Along the Blue Ridge Parkway in the heart of a quiet North Carolina forest, the sounds of the season began with something other than yuletide carols.
This year, a piece of North Carolina is headed to Washington, D.C. for the holidays.
“Since 1970, a different national forest has provided the US Capitol Christmas tree,” said Rachel Dickson, Pisgah Forest zone silviculturist.
The National Forests in North Carolina were selected for the third time in history to provide the 2022 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree. The state previously provided Fraser firs from the Pisgah National Forest in 1998 and 1974.
Rachel Dickson is part of the selection committee that combed through hundreds of acres of forest in search of the perfect tree for our Nation’s Capitol.
“There were a number of candidates. We had anywhere from 8-10 over the course of the selection process. We went out in teams and looked for trees that met the criteria,” said Dickson.
Nestled in the Pisgah National Forest, they found the one that will light up the west lawn of the U.S. Capitol building.
It’s a 78-foot red spruce, named “Ruby” by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service.
The first step of getting it to Washington, D.C. was cutting it down Wednesday.
“It’s been amazing to be apart of it,” said Rodney Smith, tree sawyer.
Smith is a 30-year forest service member and the man who helped cut down the tree.
“I have cut a lot of big trees; a few in my career. This is the first one that we have done such a unique cut and actually lifted with a crane,” said Smith.
It’s one of the first cuts into the holiday season for the nation that North Carolina will be apart of.
“It is a great opportunity for us to focus on North Carolina and all that it has to offer to the area, the national forest as a whole. Everything else along the route, we are really focusing in on what North Carolina truly is,” said Smith.
According to the USDA, thousands of ornaments, handmade by North Carolinians, will be used to decorate the tree which will be lit on the west lawn of the Capitol after the Thanksgiving holiday.
Over the next two weeks, the tree will travel on a truck through North Carolina and Virginia. It will make more than a dozen stops on their “From the Mountain to the Sea” tour for people to see along the way before reaching its final destination.
The tour will begin November 5th and travel through the 18th.
The US Forest Service said local communities are welcomed to view the 78-foot tall Red Spruce, sign the banners on the side of the truck, learn more about their national forests, shop for U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree merchandise, and more on the following dates:
Saturday, Nov. 5
3:00 – 5:00 p.m. Western North Carolina Agricultural Center (9237, 761 Boylston Hwy, Fletcher, NC 28732)
Sunday, Nov. 6
1:00 – 3:00 p.m. Cherokee County Courthouse (75 Peachtree St, Murphy, NC 28906)
6:00 – 8:00 p.m. Oconaluftee Island Park Event Site (181 Tsali Blvd, Cherokee, NC 28719)
Monday, Nov. 7
12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. Pisgah Forest Ranger Station & Visitor Center (1600 Pisgah Hwy, Pisgah Forest, NC 28768)
5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. Marion Main Street (Between Court Street and Fort Street, Marion, NC 28752)
Tuesday, Nov. 8
9:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. Avery County Courthouse (200 Montezuma St, Newland, NC 28657)
12:30 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. Watauga High School (300 Go Pioneers Dr, Boone, NC 28607)
5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. Downtown Newton (33 East A Street, Newton, NC 28658)
Wednesday, Nov. 9
10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Veteran’s Memorial Park (691 W. Lebanon St. Mount Airy, NC 27030)
3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. Troy Town Hall (315 N Main St, Troy, NC 27371)
Thursday, Nov. 10
10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. North Carolina Zoo (4401 Zoo Pkwy, Asheboro, NC 27205)
Friday, Nov. 11
1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. North Carolina Veteran’s Home (2150 Hull Rd, Kinston, NC 28504)
Saturday, Nov. 12
1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Union Point Park (210 E Front St, New Bern, NC 28560)
Sunday, Nov. 13
3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. Fort Raleigh National Historic Site (1500 Fort Raleigh Road, Manteo, NC 27954)
Monday, Nov. 14
5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. Suffolk Visitors Center (524 North Main St, Suffolk, VA 23434)
Wednesday, Nov. 16
84 Lumber, North Chesterfield, VA (Details to be announced)
Thursday, Nov. 17
5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. Joint Base Andrews (Base only)
Friday, Nov. 18
Delivery to West Lawn, U.S. Capitol Building
*Subject to change. Check here for updates on the tour.