Capitol Tree Stops in Staunton - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Capitol Tree Stops in Staunton

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Charlottesville's tree wasn't the only high-profile conifer in the area Friday. The tree that will sit proudly on Capitol Hill this season made a stop in Staunton.

The capitol tree weighs 9,000 pounds, drinks 30 to 40 gallons of water each day and stands 73 feet tall.

The tree made its journey from Colorado to Capitol Hill on the back of a special tractor-trailer, arriving in downtown Staunton Friday afternoon, where it was the center of an early holiday celebration.

It also served as a Colorado mascot, helping foresters and nonprofits work to replant the natural lands devastated by summer wildfires. The tree was harvested from the White River National Forest, where it was chosen from among a dozen finalists.

"We all enjoy our Christmas trees," said Julie Markowitz, executive director of the Staunton Downtown Development Association. "It's kind of nice to know where they come from, and take a moment and appreciate the natural beauty in our country and that kind of thing. Not to mention that it's Christmastime and people want to see Santa Claus and characters and bring their families out and just have a nice afternoon."

The Engelmann spruce tree is part of a tradition dating back nearly 50 years. Illumination will take place on the west lawn of the Capitol on December 4.

Downtown Staunton hopes to build on the holiday momentum from Friday's event by celebrating Small Business Saturday, during which merchants will offer special discounts and open-house events, on November 24.

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