National Christmas tree to pass through city

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 23, 2004

Suffolk News-Herald

It’s not quite time to deck the halls or string the popcorn.

But it’s not too early to begin crafting dinner plate-sized ornaments to adorn the largest Christmas tree that Suffolk has ever seen. The holiday will begin a little early in the city this year, when Suffolk becomes the second of 34 stops across the state during the delivery of the National Holiday Tree to Washington, D.C.


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The tree will also make stops in Norfolk and Virginia Beach.

The tree – a 60- to 70-foot evergreen selected months ago from one of the state’s national forests – ultimately will stand on the lawn of the U.S. Capitol, decorated with more than 5,000 ornaments made by school children, organizations and individuals across the state.

Another 75 or so smaller trees from across the state will be distributed though the House and Senate office buildings.

On Nov. 29, the tree will stop for a couple of hours at the Suffolk Railroad Museum and Train Station.

&uot;These trees are a gift from the people of Virginia to the Capitol,&uot; said Theresa L. Earles, the city’s tourism development coordinator. &uot;An effort is being made to give everyone in the state a chance to see it.&uot;

The tree will be traveling on a large flatbed and comes complete with its own security team, Earles said. It will be encased in a tent-like structure equipped with lighting to allow a look inside.

Suffolk residents are invited to submit ornaments depicting the state’s theme: &uot;From Virginia – Birthplace of Presidents.&uot;

The tourism department will be working with schools and other organizations – scout troops, 4-H clubs and other community groups – to get ornaments, Earles said.

Ornaments should be taken to the Suffolk Visitors Center by Oct. 11, Earles said. City staffers will pack and transport the ornaments to Richmond, where state officials will run them through security checks before they are forwarded to Washington.

For templates, instructions and suggestions of ornaments, check out the web site at