Christmas tree arrives at Rhode Island State House

(WJAR)

Rhode Island's State House Christmas tree arrived from Bedrock Tree Farm in South Kingstown Wednesday.

The 18-foot Douglas fir will stand in the State House Rotunda now through the Christmas holiday.

A ceremony lighting has been planned for November 29. The event, which will start at 5 p.m., will include live music from "The Governor's Own" 88th Army Band, the Mixed Magic Theater Exult Choir, the Ponaganset High School Chamber Chorus, and Wheeler Middle School Chorus.

It will also feature activities for children and families, plus a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus.

Gov. Gina Raimondo, along with her husband and their two children, will light the tree at 6:15 p.m.

“Attendees are asked to bring an unwrapped toy to ‘Fill a Cruiser’ with the Rhode Island State Police,” a press release from the governor’s office noted. “Toys will be donated to a variety of local charities for distribution to local kids in need.”

While the annual event always fills hearts with comfort and joy as the holiday season starts, trouble with the State House tree has become something of a Rhode Island tradition.

Last year’s tree died just days before Christmas. Piles of needles were blanketing the area below the tree beneath several bare branches. When touched, needles dropped instantly.

The tree was sitting in a large container of water, which was also filled with needles.

In 2005, the tree shed all its needles after it was doused in fire retardant. Ten years later, the first tree selected was removed after staff decided it was too frail.

Former Gov. Lincoln Chafee called it a holiday tree instead of a Christmas tree, leading to angry protests.

Hopefully, there won’t be any issues this year.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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