A blue spruce from Sault Ste. Marie will travel south to Lansing this month to become Michigan’s 31st official Christmas tree. The tree, which was chosen by staff from the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget, is expected to arrive at the Capitol about 8:15 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 29.
The tree, which is just under 50 feet tall, is being donated by Al Farrish. It’s growing in his yard on East Ninth Avenue, which is about two miles south of the St. Marys River and Soo Locks. It’s the 22nd time the official tree has been selected from the Upper Peninsula.
“DTMB’s work to obtain the state’s official tree is among the department’s most visible projects,” said DTMB Director and Michigan CIO David Behen. “Everyone, no matter the age, becomes a big kid when the Christmas tree arrives at the Capitol.”
Farrish nominated the tree in 2015, but DTMB’s selection committee decided it wasn’t large enough. It was the right size this year, though, when Capitol staff asked DTMB to find a smaller tree that could be placed closer to the street. Over the summer, new lighting and sidewalks were installed and the tree’s anchor pit was moved.
“It’s a beautiful tree,” said DTMB Christmas tree crew member Heath Miller. “It’s very nicely shaped with boughs that should make it easy to decorate.”
The tree will be harvested, at no cost to the owners, on Thursday, Oct. 27. DTMB will bring the tree to Lansing with help from the Michigan Association of Timbermen, the Great Lakes Timber Professionals Association and Michigan Operators Engineers. The timbermen will cut the tree and transport it to Lansing at no cost to the state. At the Capitol, the Hi-Ball Co. of Lansing will volunteer a crane and crew to set the tree at the intersection of Capitol and East Michigan avenues.
The tree lighting will take place on Friday, Nov. 18, as part of the Silver Bells in the City celebration. Dignitaries will flip the switch that turns on thousands of lights about 7:50 p.m. One of Michigan’s premiere holiday events, Silver Bells includes a special Electric Light Parade with floats, marching bands and thousands of sparkling lights. The festivities will conclude with a fireworks display above the Capitol dome (weather permitting).