A small county, a rural county, not much of interest on the national radar happens here. We do have scenic beauty with mountain vistas and plenty of trees. One of those trees will be the 2012 Capitol Christmas Tree.This morning, volunteers will cut a previously selected 60 foot tree from the Stanislaus National Forest. A Miwuk tribal elder will bless the event before the tree is lifted by crane and set on a flatbed truck and attached to a water bladder at the base. It will then be transported to the Sonora Fairgrounds guided by the California Highway Patrol.
The tree will be greeted by the townspeople and become part of a parade through town and culminate in all day festivities at the fairgrounds. The weather was perfect last night, to stop the sap from flowing at about 26*, hardening off for the long trip across country to Washington D.C.
The festivities include wreath-making, wine tasting, music and food, seventy displays, vendors and children’s activities. The festival begins at 10 a.m. today. The tree will arrive for all to see and smell before it heads east. It is a unique festival and those who see the tree on television will have a personal memory of the famous Whitehouse Christmas Tree, especially the many volunteers both local and beyond who put in countless hours of donated time to make it happen. It is customary for the tree to be decorated and stand from the Monday after Thanksgiving through the end of December on the White House lawn.
The Whitehouse Christmas Tree is selected from a different National Forest every year, so if you miss this celebration, you aren’t likely to see another in a long time. The trip and related events are funded by private donations. Donations are still being accepted to help cover travel expenses for the 10 day trip, and can be sent to the Sonora Area Foundation. Only one tax paid employee, a veteran U.S. Forest Service person, Maria Benech, coordinated the event.
The tree will be taken down 108 to Oakdale, then Manteca, Sacramento, Modesto, Merced, Fresno, Kingsburg, Santa Clarita, Los Angeles, Rancho Cucamonga, Barstow, Flagstaff, AZ., Gallup N.M. Amarillo TX, Tinker AFB, OK, Ft. Leonard Wood, MO, Santa Claus, IN, Cherokee, NC, Greensboro, NC, Newport News, VA, Dumfries, VA, Hersey, PA to Washington.