Ready for its close-up

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 29, 2006

State Christmas tree being prepped for ceremony

By Cassandra Mickens

The Selma Times-Journal

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MONTGOMERY – Light rain showers didn’t deter workers from dressing the official state Christmas tree –

a 40-foot Dallas County Eastern Red Cedar – Wednesday morning at the State Capitol.

Once decorating is complete, the tree will make its debut on Friday during a lighting ceremony hosted by Gov. Bob Riley and First Lady Patsy Riley. Sponsored by the Garden Club of Alabama, the festivities will begin at 5:15 p.m. on the front steps of the State Capitol, which is located on 600 Dexter Ave.

“Patsy and I look forward to this wonderful tradition every year, and we hope Alabamians will join us on Friday,” said Gov. Riley in a press-released statement.

Music selections performed by the Baldwin Junior High Showstoppers of Montgomery, pianist Elaine Wanous and soloist Michele Lott will accent the ceremony in addition to a special tribute to U.S. military personnel serving overseas presented by Lt. Gen. Stephen Lorenz of Maxwell Air Force Base. Dr. G. Lance Hogan of First Baptist Church in Enterprise will give the benediction.

The recurring theme for Friday’s ceremony is “Every Light a Prayer for Peace,” a message signifying patriotism and hope.

Brothers Harold and Sam Stockman donated this year’s state tree and both plan to attend the ceremony. The tree was removed from the Stockman property in Summerfield on Nov. 27 and arrived at the State Capitol at approximately 3 p.m. The tree is stationed on the west side of the capitol facing Dexter Avenue and is strewn with more than 30,000 Christmas lights.

Two additional trees – a 15-foot White Pine and a 13-foot Virginia Pine – also arrived on Nov. 27 from Paul and Carolyn Beavers Christmas Tree Farm in Trafford, Ala.

Once the tree is lit, the City of Montgomery’s annual Christmas Parade will commence at the State Capitol and travel down Dexter Avenue.