How Michigan’s State Christmas Tree Goes From the Wilderness to the Capitol
It's the holiday season and what would it be without our official state Christmas tree?
Michigan has become known as one of the country's top Christmas-tree-producing states so of course the old adage, "go big or go home" definitely applies here.
Sure, lots of Michigan cities and towns have their own tree, but the one that gets to sit at the Capitol, now that one is special. Turns out, there's a pretty lengthy process that goes into it and spans practically the entire summer.
Nominations & Selection by Michigan DTMB
Per the release sent in May of 2021 by the Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget (DTMB), nominations start in the middle of May and are open until about the middle of August (based on the dates for this past year, 2021).
"We rely on our Michiganders to keep a lookout for the perfect tree during their summer travels," explained DTMB Director Brom Stibitz in the release.
This means that anyone can nominate a tree as long as it meets these four criteria:
- Type: The tree must be either a spruce or a fir.
- Size: The tree must be "At least 60-feet tall with a maximum crown of 24 feet and maximum trunk diameter of 30 inches."
- Accessibility: "Easy access to the road, with no interference from wires."
- Cost: Has to be free (like donated, for example).
From there DMTB says once the tree is selected, they work with the Michigan Association of Timbermen and the Great Lakes Timber Professionals Association to get the tree from wherever it is to Lansing!
About Michigan's 2021 Christmas Tree
This year, according to MLive, our official state Christmas tree is a 63-foot blue spruce hailing from the Upper Penninsula, Gogebic County to be exact.
They also report this is not only the 24th state tree to come from the U.P. but is also the second to come from Gogebic County.
It was donated by Carla Fletcher and family who said they got to their cabin up there one day to find a note from the state saying they were interested in the tree.
"I thought it was a joke at first, but decided to call the number," Fletcher said. "It’s amazing that our tree will travel to Lansing for the holidays."
What Happens After the Tree is Found
Check out this video of how the 2016 state Christmas tree was harvested:
According to MLive, the tree was harvested on October 27th and brought to the Capitol. From there, local boy scout troops carried on with their tradition of untying the tree.
Then, Lansing's own HI-Ball Company brings in a crane and a crew to get the tree hoisted up and settled into place.
After it is up, MLive reports, that around October 30th is when the capitol grounds get decorated, which this year Fletcher and family decided to join in. The MI Capitol Commission as well as the Lansing Board of Water and Light then come up with the lighting scheme and décor.
The Official Lighting of the Tree
Of course, just like at home, lighting the tree makes all that hard work not only worth it but "official."
As far as the lighting of the state Christmas Tree, it all culminates into a major event in Downton Lansing, a ceremony during the annual Silver Bells in the City.
This year will be the 37th annual presentation of the event and will be happening on Friday, November 19th with the tree lighting taking place around 7:45 PM.