HARRISBURG, Pa. (Erie News Now) – Monday, the annual Capitol Christmas tree lighting ceremony took place. The 20-foot Douglas fir, located in the main Capitol rotunda, is decorated with over 900 LED lights and more than 700 hand-crafted ornaments.
The annual lighting ceremony is orchestrated by the Department of General Services to kick off the holiday season. The 700+ ornaments are crafted by young students and seniors throughout the commonwealth. Older Pennsylvanians from more than 70 senior community centers in 35 counties submitted ornaments, including the Wellsboro Active Living Center in Tioga County and Cranberry Place Senior Center in Venango County.
The sights and sounds of the ceremony always draw a large crowd as Pennsylvanians, especially children, begin to celebrate the season.
“It’s a time for families. It’s a time for all of us to recognize the wonders and amazing things in this world. But it’s especially a wonderful time if you’re a child,” said Governor Tom Wolf. “Each year, this ceremony reminds me of the common bonds we share across humanity. During this holiday season, let us celebrate and strengthen those bonds by reaching out to others in need by sharing what we have with others and by extending our kindness beyond our friends and families to strangers and acquaintances, who we know to be different from us,” he added.
Gov. Wolf says the ceremony, which also featured performances by the Central Dauphin High School Choir, provides a special opportunity to reflect and show generosity to others.
“The one thing that unites all of us during this special season, during the darkest time of the year, we come together to embrace family, to embrace community, to embrace the whole idea of generosity. This is a time when Pennsylvanians reach out to support those who are around us. We give thanks for all that we have, that we’ve been given. We spread love,” said Gov. Wolf. “There’s an opportunity to reflect, display generosity and know that there is light. Even when times are dark, even when we feel alone, even when things are hard, times are tough- hope, community and friendship survive,” he added.
There is also a second 20-foot Douglas fir outside the Capitol. Both trees are from Crystal Spring Tree Farm in Carbon County.
The Rotunda tree will be lit daily from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., while the outdoor tree on the Capitol steps will be lit daily from 5 p.m. to midnight. Both will be on display through Jan. 6.