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Search for Capitol building Christmas tree has begun

June 11, 2013

The Christmas frenzy has hit Lansing already — the hunt for the Christmas tree that will grace the front lawn of the state Capitol building is on.

The search has been announced by the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget, or DTMB. Lauren Leeds, a spokeswoman for DTMB, said the department is responsible for finding the Christmas tree because it is the administrative arm of the state government.

Leeds said the Christmas tree, which will be unveiled at the 29th annual Silver Bells in the City celebration on Nov. 22, must be a spruce or fir. Additionally, it must be a minimum of 65 feet in height, have a maximum crown of 30 feet and a maximum trunk diameter of 30 inches. The tree must also be easily accessible from a road with no interference from wires and be available at no cost. Last year’s tree came from Jackson, Mich.

Pascal Nzokou, associate professor in MSU’s Department of Forestry, said around 30 to 35 years would be needed to grow a 65-foot-tall fir tree. Nzokou added a fir tree grows about two feet a year.

Nominations for the featured Christmas tree must be sent in by July 31.

After a tree has been selected, DTMB will partner with the Michigan Association of Timbermen and Great Lakes Timber Professionals Association to transport the tree to Lansing.

Steve Benkovsky, director of facilities at the state Capitol, said Capitol facilities take charge of lighting the tree. Benkovsky said this time of the year is about getting organized for the upcoming event.

“Right now it’s ordering anything we might need so we’re not scrambling at the last minute,” Benkovsky said.

Leeds said the Silver Bells in the City celebration is the largest single one-day event that brings people to downtown Lansing, with an estimated 100,000-plus people in attendance.

“There is a lot of holiday cheer that is brought by the Christmas tree being there,” Leeds said. Leeds added Silver Bells in the City features a light parade, musical entertainment, the official lighting of the tree and culminates with fireworks behind the Capitol building.

Elle Cannon, education senior, said Christmas should be less about events like Silver Bells in the City and more about family. Cannon added she think it’s “ridiculous” to already be searching for a Christmas tree.

“It’s just so commercialized,” Cannon said. “I think it should be about family, and getting together and celebrating.”

Benkovsky said Silver Bells in the City serves as a great event for families to come down to view the city and the Capitol building.

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