ROMNEY, W.Va. — At 63 feet tall and roughly 8,000 pounds, this year’s U.S. Capitol Christmas tree was chosen to be viewed from every angle, Tina White said.
“It’s not one you can shove in the corner to hide the bad side,” she said and laughed.
On Tuesday, White, public information officer for the 2023 “People’s Tree” that will adorn the Capitol’s West Lawn this holiday season, was at the West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and the Blind in Romney where the Norway spruce made a special appearance on its way to be delivered Nov. 17 in Washington, D.C.
The Mountain State’s leg of the tree’s journey also included stops in Elkins, Beckley and Charleston and Harpers Ferry on Wednesday.
The tree attracted thousands of people at the various sites, White said.
“The West Virginia pride is very strong,” she said and added that roughly 14,000 ornaments for the tree were made by groups across the state including 4-H.
DetailsEarlier this month, the tree — a Norway spruce — was harvested from the Monongahela National Forest, which partnered with the nonprofit Choose Outdoors and presenting sponsor 84 Lumber to transport the tree from West Virginia to the Capitol.
A different national forest is chosen each year to provide the Capitol Christmas tree, which also came from the Monongahela in 1970 and 1976.
To keep it fresh during transport, the tree absorbs roughly five to 10 gallons of water from an attached bag per day, White said.
“It can drink as it goes along,” she said.
The Shawnee Tribe, at invitation from the United States Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service, named the tree “Wa’feem’tekwi,” which means “bright tree” and is pronounced “wa thame tech we.”
After the Christmas season, the Tribe will use the tree “to make something,” White said.
BannerRomney residents Kathy Gross and her husband Jack saw a Capitol Christmas tree decorated in Washington, D.C., about 10 years ago.
They were amazed at the different perspective the tree on a trailer provided Tuesday, versus the standing display they visited in the past.
“I never dreamed it would be this long,” Kathy Gross said. “I wouldn’t want to drive this truck.”
The couple were among thousands of other folks, who visited the spruce in various towns, to sign their names on a banner wrapped around the tree’s transport container.
“It’s exciting,” Kathy Gross said. “I think it’s wonderful that they stopped here.”
Romney resident Gavin Pickel, 18, had a leg up on his view of the tree.
Stilts raised his frame to nearly seven feet tall.
Pickel said he enjoyed the tree’s visit.
“It gets a lot of people to come out,” he said.
CeremonyBooths from organizations including the General Federation Women’s Club of Romney, Hampshire County Arts Council, and Potomac Eagle’s North Pole Express dotted the WVSDB campus, and a ceremony was held to celebrate the national tree’s visit.
Speakers at the gathering included Romney Mayor Beverly Keadle and special guest Nikki Bowman Mills, founder and owner of New South Media that publishes magazines including WV Living.
Performances at the event included songs by WVSDB students, The Cat & The Fiddle Music School and the Hampshire High School Band.
Romney Presbyterian Church Pastor Rob Vaughan provided a blessing at the event, and asked for the tree while in Washington, D.C., to symbolize “a beacon of hope.”