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UPDATE: Wisconsin Capitol Christmas tree lit

UPDATED Thursday, December 5, 2013 --- 2:46 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- After two lighting ceremonies, the lights of the Wisconsin state Capitol Christmas tree are now on for good.

Gov. Scott Walker early Thursday morning presided over a low-key ceremony to turn on the lights of the 30-foot balsam fir Christmas tree.

But the lights were turned back off until a noontime ceremony where they were switched on a second time by Department of Natural Resources Secretary Cathy Stepp and members of the Antigo High School trumpet ensemble.

Walker moved the lighting ceremony to the morning in 2011. That year about 200 people attended.

Both of Thursday's lighting events attracted a couple dozen people each.

The tree stands in the middle of the Capitol rotunda, surrounded by other displays including two nativity scenes and a "Seinfeld"-inspired Festivus pole.

Copyright 2013: Associated Press

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UPDATED Thursday, December 5, 2013 --- 9:30 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- The Wisconsin Capitol Christmas tree is now lit.

Gov. Scott Walker presided over a low-key early morning ceremony Thursday during which the lights of the 30-foot balsam fir were turned on.

The tree features ornaments made by school children across Wisconsin. Walker says ornaments were submitted from 152 schools across the state.

Christmas tree growers from across the state as well as women who quilted a new skirt to go around the base of the Capitol tree attended the event with Walker.

The tree stands in the middle of the Capitol rotunda, surrounded by other displays including two nativity scenes, a sign and a "Winter Solstice Nativity" disavowing Christmas by the Freedom from Religion Foundation and a "Seinfeld"-inspired Festivus pole.

Copyright 2013: Associated Press

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UPDATED Monday, December 2, 2013 --- 1:19 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- The towering balsam fir Christmas tree that occupies the center of the Wisconsin state Capitol for the holiday season is now in place and being decorated.

But it's not the only sign of the holidays in the Capitol.

There's also a menorah and a traditional nativity scene.

In contrast, the Madison-based Freedom from Religion Foundation has its own "natural nativity" scene celebrating the winter solstice. Its sign proclaims that "Religion is but myth and superstition."

And then there's the Festive pole. The pole is a central part of the fake holiday made famous in a 1997 "Seinfeld" episode and it's sharing space alongside the nativity scene and other displays.

A sign next to the pole says there will be an "airing of the grievances" next to it on Dec. 23.

Copyright 2013: Associated Press

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UPDATED Tuesday, November 19, 2013 --- 5:57 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- The Christmas tree that will be on display in the state Capitol rotunda is hitting the road for Madison.

The balsam fir is coming from Antigo, about 175 miles north of the Capitol near Wausau. It is scheduled to arrive Tuesday morning where it will be unloaded at the Capitol doors. It won't be brought inside and set up until Dec. 2.

Ornaments that will hang on the tree can be submitted to the state by Nov. 22. The theme this year is Wisconsin Traditions.

Copyright 2013: Associated Press

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UPDATED Thursday, October 24, 2013 --- 5:48 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Gov. Scott Walker has put out the call for ornaments to decorate the Capitol Christmas tree this year.

The theme for the tree this year is "Wisconsin Traditions." Walker says that is meant to encompass "all the things that make Wisconsin great" including the Green Bay Packers, deer hunting and riding Harley-Davidson motorcycles.

Ornaments fitting that theme can be submitted by Nov. 22. Schools across the state are being sent letters with details about how students can submit ornaments for the tree that stands in the center of the Capitol rotunda during the holiday season.

Copyright 2013: Associated Press
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Posted Thursday, August 15, 2013 --- 7:40 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Wanted: a balsam fir between 35 feet and 45 feet tall to be displayed in the Wisconsin Capitol rotunda over the Christmas season.

If possible, it should have full branches.

And it should be accessible to the necessary logging and loading equipment for removing it from the property.

Oh, and all of the cutting, loading and hauling expenses need to be donated to the state of Wisconsin.

The Wisconsin Department of Administration staff put out the call for trees this week. Staff from DOA will meet with potential donors to inspect the tree prior to accepting the donation.

The first tree that meets the requirements will be selected.

Copyright 2013: Associated Press

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Posted Wednesday, August 14, 2013 --- 3:06 p.m.

From our news partner, WITI in Milwaukee:

MADISON (WITI) — Each fall, the State of Wisconsin searches for a Christmas tree to be displayed in the Capitol rotunda in December.

Tree donations are based upon requirements listed below:

Balsam Fir approximately 35 – 45 feet tall.
Full branches throughout the tree, if possible. Otherwise, a second donated tree may be needed to utilize the branches for filler.
Tree should be accessible to the necessary logging and loading equipment for removing the tree from the property. In addition, there are often media outlets or groups that like to watch the tree being harvested.
All of the cutting, loading, and hauling expenses are to be donated.

“The annual display of a Christmas tree in the State Capitol rotunda is a special holiday tradition,” Governor Walker said. “Each holiday season, numerous tourists and visitors enjoy the beauty of our selected Balsam Fir tree.”

Wisconsin Department of Administration staff will meet with potential donors to inspect the tree prior to accepting the donation. The first tree that meets the requirements will be selected. The tree is harvested in November and is brought to the State Capitol in late November to early December.


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