How you get your “15 seconds of fame” can be tricky. You can work and work towards a goal and eventually earn recognition for your talent and effort, or—you can be going along, oblivious that your life is about to change—when BOOM! a circumstance beyond your control instantly propels you to stardom. (#AlexfromTarget, anyone?)
Such is the case with a white spruce that was, up until last weekend, just one of many spruce trees growing in Chippewa National Forest. One day, it was just your average, ordinary 88-foot-tall spruce among thousands; the next, it was the center of attention. This past weekend, it was the inspiration behind Minnesota-is-so-beautiful-and-now-the-whole-country-will-see-that-natural-beauty remarks made by influential state senators and representatives during a special tree-cutting event, became part of a traditional blessing ceremony by the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, was cut down, given a drink of water from the Mighty Mississippi, transported to Itasca State Park for photo opportunities, carefully wrapped, then sent away on a nearly 2,000-mile trip to Washington, DC (stopping no less than 30 times en route) to be dressed in Christmas finery on the west lawn of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC.
Not just any tree makes the “cut” (wink, wink). It actually had to be selected by staff from the U.S. Capitol and the Washington office of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The tree is kind of a big deal. I mean, how many trees have their own website and everything? (capitolchristmastree.com) You still have a few opportunities to see it before it really becomes famous and forgets about its Minnesota “roots.” (Ok, ok, I’ll stop with the bad jokes.)
The last three local events for the tree—before it crosses state lines in its journey to the Capitol—are Thursday, November 6 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Garlough Elementary School in West St. Paul, 4 to 6 p.m. at Lifetouch Photography in Eden Prairie, then off to Rochester on Friday, November 7 for a meet-and-greet from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Mayo Clinic before heading to Red Wing for a showing at the St. James Hotel from 5-8 p.m. On Saturday, November 8, our beloved Minnesota tree will be at Cabela’s in Owatonna from 9 a.m. to noon before traveling to Northern Star Council Base Camp, Fort Snelling, St. Paul from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m.
After that, the tree is headed to Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, West Virginia, and Maryland before its final resting spot in DC. The U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony will take place on the Capitol’s west front lawn beginning at 5 p.m. December 2. The hand-crocheted tree skirt and homemade ornaments are from Minnesota, too, and came from individuals, artists, and crafters of all ages. Just more proof that some of the best things (and people) come from Minnesota.