The governor and first lady are inviting the public to a tree lighting ceremony and holiday celebration at the state Capitol on Monday. Music and refreshments will start at 5 p.m.; the tree lighting on the Capitol steps is set for 5:30. “Amid the challenges and frustrations of everyday life, it’s a welcome respite for those of us lucky enough to live in Idaho to join together with family and friends in celebration of the holiday season,” Gov. Butch Otter said. “It’s a great chance to renew our commitment to peace and to express gratitude for our many blessings as Americans. We hope the beautiful Capitol Christmas tree, festooned with thousands of lights, will help everyone look up and look forward with a new appreciation for our communities, our state and our nation.”
This year’s tree was donated by a North End family; it’s a 35-foot-tall blue spruce that was just 8 feet tall when the family planted it in their yard in 1997. It’s on the Capitol steps now; plans call for it to be strung with approximately 10,000 lights.
Monday’s celebration will include music from the 25th Army Band, the Andrus Ambassador Honor Choir from Meridian’s Cecil D. Andrus Elementary School, and the Weiser High School Choir; complimentary hot chocolate, cider and cookies; and free books for kids. After the tree lighting, people are invited inside the Capitol to view the holiday decorations and visit the governor’s office and the Capitol gift shop, which have items crafted by Idaho artists and a 2015 state ornament for sale.