U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree comes to Colorado Springs on way to D.C.

This year’s Capitol Christmas tree comes from Blanco Ranger District of the White River National Forest, near Meeker, Colo. Photo from capitolchristmastree2012.org.

This year’s U.S. Capitol Christmas tree hails from Colorado and will be on display in Colorado Springs this month as it makes it way to Washington D.C.

O Tannenbaum, at 73-feet tall, is sure to delight on its journey across Colorado and the U.S. The tree will visit 28 cities on its way to Washington, D.C.

The U.S. Forest Service, with help from their nonprofit partner, Choose Outdoors, will bring the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree to Colorado Springs Nov. 11.

The tree will be at the U.S. Air Force Academy’s Falcon Stadium parking lot from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. There will be a group photo by the tree at 9 a.m. and Kum & Go, which recently opened a new store near the stadium, will provide free refreshments. (Those attending the event must enter through the north gate of the U.S. Air Force Academy.)

Santa and Mrs. Claus will also be traveling with the tree, an Engelmann Spruce which will be harvested Nov. 2 from the White River National Forest, about 40 miles east of Meeker.

In August, the superintendent of the Capitol Grounds selected the Colorado tree from a site which is currently being used by special use permit holder Ripple Creek Lodge.

Ripple Creek Lodge was built in 1926 and has provided services to national forest visitors since that time.

“We are elated that the 2012 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree representing the state of Colorado was selected from our permit area,” said Dan Schwartz, who owns Ripple Creek Lodge with his wife Keri.

The tree is wrapped and transported to Washington, D.C. on a custom-decorated Mack Pinnacle model truck driven by former U.S. Senator, Ben Nighthorse Campbell.

All festivities with the tree are free and open to the public. As the tree travels the country, it will carry a message about sustainable forestry. In addition, new and unwrapped toy donations will be accepted through Toys for Tots for underprivileged children this holiday season.

“Colorado Springs welcomes this festive and celebratory tour of the Capitol Christmas Tree,” said Doug Price, Colorado Springs Convention and Visitors Bureau president and CEO. “As the proud home of the U.S. Air Force Academy, it is the ideal backdrop for a tree that will grace the lawn of the White House for all to enjoy during the holidays.”

When the tree arrives in Washington, D.C., it will be placed on the west lawn of the U.S. Capitol and decorated with more than 5,000 ornaments handmade by Colorado children depicting the tree’s theme, “Celebrating the Great Outdoors.”

In early December, a tree lighting ceremony will take place and will be available for public viewing throughout the holiday season.

Costs associated with the tree’s transportation and tour events are covered by contributions by individuals, corporations and local communities. Major sponsors include the Colorado Tourism Office, Mack Trucks and The National Association of Convenience Stores.