The capitol rotunda gets a lot more colorful today.
Governor Jim Doyle is scheduled to do the countdown before flipping the switch to illuminate the state’s official Christmas tree this afternoon. But if the tree-lighting ceremony doesn’t fit into your schedule, you can view the 35-foot balsam fir any time during the holiday season, as do thousands of people.
“Well it seems to be a big family event to come down … kind of when you’re coming down to Madison to visit grandparents or folks everyone seems to want to stop up at the state capitol building and look at the Christmas tree.”
So says Capitol Building and Grounds Supervisor Bill Beckman.
Lest you worry about more taxpayer dollars being spent during these poor economic times, Beckman says you’ll be happy to know the tree was donated from the Charles McDonald family in western Wisconsin.
“The tree is donated; the harvesting is donated — meaning cutting the tree down; and the transportation down to Madison is also donated”
Beckman says his staff generally waits to take the tree down until after New Year’s Day, because many people like to stop by the capitol building during the holiday season. In the past, though, they have had to take it down early because it got too dry, making it a fire hazard. However, Beckman says for the past five years or so they’ve been using L-E-Ds, which help to save energy, and prevent the tree from drying out too soon.
NOTE: Tree-lighting ceremony is at noon.
Jackie Johnson (1:22)