The 2013 holiday tree arrived at the State Capitol on Monday, Dec. 2, and was hoisted, tugged, and pulled into place, all under the watchful eyes of two little sisters who just happened to be visiting the Capitol with their mother.
“That’s a ginormous Christmas tree,” said Lydia Frost, age 3, peering over the railing on the Capitol’s north steps as the 25-foot-tall blue spruce arrived at the Capitol from rural Hickman. The 23-year-old tree was donated by its owners, Eric Slezak and Sue White.
“I’ve never seen a Christmas tree brought in here before,” said Lydia’s big sister, Abbie, 6. The girls and their mother, Cara Frost, didn’t know the holiday tree was scheduled to arrive when they planned their Capitol visit Monday. The girls visit the Capitol with their mother every other month or so—more frequently in the winter— to check out the statues and then lie on the marble tile floor of the Rotunda.
“That’s our routine,” said Mrs. Frost. The Capitol is one of the girls’ favorite outings, especially in the winter when it is warm and the girls can explore and learn about Nebraska history. “It’s a well-kept secret,” she said. On this visit, they stopped by the statue of Mari Sandoz and will go home and research the famous author who lived in Red Cloud, not far from Gordon where Mrs. Frost grew up. Her husband, Daniel, is from Broken Bow.
The arrival of the holiday tree is a major event at the Capitol undertaken by about 30 employees from the Office of the Capitol Commission, the State Building Division, and the Department of Roads. “It’s been years in developing,” said state archivist Karen Wagner, describing the process used to hoist the tree onto the north steps, bring the tree through the north doorway, guide it to its place in the Rotunda, and raise it upright.
The tree lighting ceremony will be at 1:30 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 8, in the Rotunda.