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U.S. Capitol Christmas tree comes to campus Nov. 8

An 88-foot-tall Engelmann spruce tree, cut from a northeast Washington forest and on its way to decorate the lawn of the U.S. Capitol Building for the holidays, arrives at the Capitol Campus Friday Nov. 8.

The public is invited to welcome the 2013 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree to Olympia.

The tree will be on display along the South Diagonal of the west campus between 4 and 6 p.m. Friday. Free hot chocolate and candy canes will be available.

Gov. Jay Inslee will make a few remarks at about 5:15 p.m. as part of the tree event.

The tree, which was harvested on Nov. 1 from the Colville National Forest in Pend Oreille County, will travel by truck to communities across the country, including 10 in Washington state, before arriving in the nation's capital by Thanksgiving.

The truck and trailer transporting the tree is more than 100 feet long, so its estimated 2 p.m. arrival and 6:15 p.m. departure could impact campus traffic, especially near the intersection of Capitol Way and Sid Snyder Avenue.

Every year since 1964, a tree has been cut from a national or state forest for use as the Capitol Christmas Tree. This year's tree is the second tallest one ever chosen and the second time a tree has been chosen from Washington.

After the tree was cut, a large bladder filled with water was attached to the trunk to keep it fresh for the cross-country trip. The Capitol Christmas Tree will travel with 80 smaller trees that will be used for decorating federal government offices.

U.S. House Speaker John Boehner will light the Capitol Christmas Tree at a ceremony in early December.

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