US Capitol Christmas Tree makes stop in Central California

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- It just might be the most famous Christmas tree in the country and Thursday, it could be seen in the mountain town of Mariposa.

Jolly Old Saint Nick and Mrs. Claus were there to get the large gathering of visitors into the holiday spirit while the local high school band played Christmas songs for those who lined Downtown Mariposa.

They were all there just to get a glimpse at the US Capitol Christmas tree.

"One of the reasons this tree was chosen is this type of species does well in different climates because in Washington, of course it gets cold," says Scott Gediman.

Known as the People's Tree, this 84-foot white fir was harvested at the Six Rivers National Forest near Eureka and will make its way to Southern California before zig-zagging its way across the country.

Once delivered on November 19 to the West Lawn of the US Capitol, it will be decorated and lit up in time for Christmas.

"Traveling with the tree is probably my favorite because seeing the reaction of people waving on overpasses and on the side of the road," says Samantha Reho with the USDA Forest Service. "We had a parade coming into Mariposa with so many people cheering. It's been really cool to see the warm embrace and reaction from all Californians."

The Forest Service provides the US Capitol tree every year, but this is the first time in a decade that a tree from California has been selected.

"This is a part of history," Gediman said. "These people are able to experience something that not a lot of people get to see. This tree is going to get planted and hopefully, for the rest of our lives, this tree will thrive and remind us of the beautiful national forests here in California."

From Mariposa, the tree will make a stop in Fresno Friday and is expected to arrive at Addams Elementary School at 8:30 am.

From there, it will head to Bakersfield and then the Rose Bowl.
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