The first week in December is a busy time in the Nebraska State Capitol. Early in the week the Official State Christmas tree arrived and staff began to prepare for the 72nd annual Christmas Tree Lighting and Carol Sing. The tree lighting and Carol sing have been a tradition in the Capitol since World War II when local service organizations sponsored a carol sing on the Capitol steps for servicemen stationed at the Lincoln Air Base. Pinewood Bowl, Inc. carries on the tradition Sunday December 8th at 2:00 p.m. During the program Governor Pete Ricketts will deliver his holiday message and he and First Lady Susanne Shore will light the Official State Christmas Tree. the program will conclude with a traditional carol sing with the audience joining in the singing of favorite carols.
In preparation for the event, Capitol staff went to Seward to cut down a donated tree. Department of Transportation staff brought the tree to the Capitol and joined Capitol staff and HVAC project contractors in pulling the 30 foot tall tree in through the north door and down the great hall to the rotunda. The tree was raised up and then placed in the southwest corner of the rotunda to await the ceremony. Capitol staff will string the lights and decorate the tree before the week is over.
Once lit the tree will grace the rotunda until it has to come down, right after Christmas. Visitor are encouraged to come see the tree Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. till 5:00 p.m.; Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and on Sundays from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. Please contact the Capitol tour office (402)471-0448 for information about touring the Capitol during the holiday season.
There will be two special holiday concerts the week before Christmas, December 17 at noon the Capitol will ring with the sound of tubas performing traditional carols, and Wednesday December 18, Husker Horns will perform over the noon hour. Both concerts are free and open to the public. Come celebrate the season at the Capitol.