WASHINGTON — The U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree will be lit during a ceremony held on Tuesday, December 2, 2014, at 5 p.m. on the Capitol's West Front Lawn. The ceremony is open to the public and no tickets are required. Architect of the Capitol Stephen T. Ayers, FAIA, LEED AP, will serve as the master of ceremonies. The Honorable John A. Boehner, Speaker of the House, will flip the switch to light the tree for the first time at dusk.
This year's tree is a white spruce from the Chippewa National Forest in Cass Lake, Minnesota. It was harvested on October 29, 2014, and after traveling thousands of miles across the country, arrived at the U.S. Capitol on November 21, 2014. The tree is decorated with thousands of LED lights and ornaments, handcrafted by children and others from Minnesota communities as a gift from the "Land of 10,000 Lakes."
The program will feature holiday music played by the U.S. Navy Ceremonial Band. Aaron Urban, a 10-year-old from Linthicum, Maryland, will assist Speaker Boehner with the lighting of the tree. Members of the Minnesota Congressional delegation are scheduled to attend the ceremony, led by U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar.
The gates will open to the public at 4 p.m. on December 2. Access to the West Front Lawn will be from First Street and Maryland Avenue SW, and First Street and Pennsylvania Avenue NW, where the public will proceed through security. Parking near the Capitol is restricted; therefore, it is recommended those attending the ceremony take Metro (Union Station and Capitol South are the nearest stops).
The first U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree dates back to 1964 when J. George Stewart, Architect of the Capitol, at the suggestion of House Speaker John W. McCormack, established the yearly tradition of decorating a tree on the West Front Lawn. Since 1970, the U.S. Forest Service has provided the Capitol Christmas Tree. The tree will be lit from dusk until 11 p.m. each evening through January 1, 2015.