Wednesday, November 23, 2016
OKLAHOMA CITY — Governor Mary Fallin and Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister will be joined next week by schoolchildren from across the state for the lighting of the Capitol Christmas tree.
The lighting ceremony is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 29, on the south steps of the Capitol. The governor will give brief remarks before the 30-foot artificial Christmas tree is lit. The tree, a replica of a Douglas fir, has more than 2,500 energy-saving LED lights.
This year’s emcee is Bobbie Miller. The event is sponsored by McDonald's, Manhattan Construction and Weyerhaeuser Co. Foundation.
Before the lighting ceremony, approximately 700 students are expected to decorate 26 small Christmas trees placed inside the Capitol. The students, ranging in grade level from first to fifth grade, will come from across the state.
“This is a very special time of the year to celebrate the holiday season with family and friends with the annual lighting of the Capitol’s Christmas tree and caroling,” said Fallin. “I appreciate the students who came from across the state to decorate the numerous Christmas trees on display. I invite Oklahomans and visitors to the state to stop by the Capitol this month to see the displays and enjoy the great work done by our school children.”
Beginning at 2:30 p.m., Fallin and Hofmeister will walk through the Capitol to look at the trees and talk with the children.
“There is nothing quite like experiencing the holiday season through the eyes of children,” Hofmeister said. “I’m excited for the 26 classes chosen to decorate a tree this year, and look forward to meeting those students and teachers and ushering in the holiday season together.”
Other activities include storytelling, music, dance, refreshments and a visit from Santa Claus.
New this year, Science Museum Oklahoma and the Oklahoma History Center will be taking part in the festivities. Also, a reception for freshman legislators will take place in the Blue Room on the second floor of the Capitol.
As part of the governor’s Oklahoma Fosters initiative, a group of foster children again will be included in the festivities. Foster families and sibling groups, some of whom have been separated from each other, will be able to come back together to decorate five Christmas trees and watch the lighting ceremony.
Assisting in the lighting of the tree will be Patrick and Barb Yeary, an Oklahoma City area couple who this year adopted two siblings, J.J. and Will, from the state Department of Human Services.
Again this year, about 100 evergreens in the state Capitol Park will not be lit. The move is estimated to save at least $2,000 in labor and electricity costs. In addition, outdoor Christmas lights are not being installed on the grounds of the Governor’s Mansion, which will save about $9,000 in labor costs.
Performing artist groups include:
The 26 Christmas trees will be displayed by the following schools: