U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree Making Stop In Sonora
Sonora, CA – The Mother Lode will get a chance to see this year’s U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree up close.
While the tree is not from the Stanislaus National Forest like back in 2011, it will be on display for a couple of hours at the Mother Lode Fairgrounds next month. The 84-foot white fir nicknamed “Sugar Bear” will be harvested from the Six Rivers National Forest near Eureka in a virtual ceremony on Sunday, Oct. 24, at 10 a.m. (Watch the event live at https://www.facebook.com/SixRiversNF)
Organizers say that once wrapped and secured, the “People’s Tree” will begin its 3,500-mile journey from Northern California to Washington, D.C., on Oct. 29th. Starting on that date, the public can even track the tree’s trip in real-time online by clicking here.
The tree is scheduled to visit 19 communities while making the trek. Sonora landed one of those coveted spots on the cross-country tour. “We are very excited,” noted District 4 Supervisor Kathleen Haff who believes RCRC or the Regional Council of Rural Counties consortium landed the city that honor. She detailed, “I think they had something to do with picking the counties and they reached out to me because I am the representative for RCRC for our county and I said a resounding yes, we’d love to participate.”
The tree will arrive in Sonora on Nov. 3rd. It will be escorted by the Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Posse on horseback and followed by Sonora’s newest fire engine with Santa Claus on board and engines from both Tuolumne County and Stanislaus National Forest fire departments. To welcome the tree, community members are encouraged to line South Washington Street from Highway 108 down to Stockton Street where it will turn to head to the Mother Lode Fairgrounds. It will remain at the fairgrounds from 5 – 7 p.m.
There will be plenty of activities for the family including a “Walk Through The Forest Experience,” which is a 120 ft. guided visual walkway and goody bags provided by the U.S. Forest Service for the kids. Visitors can also leave their mark, as Haff explains, “There is an 80 ft. long banner on either side of the trailer carrying the tree that people will be able to sign.”
One must-have item to view the tree is a flashlight, instructs Haff, as the fairgrounds lighting is minimal. Visitors are advised to dress warm and follow Tuolumne County Public Health officials’ COVID protocol recommendations, which are to social distance and bring a mask just in case you are not able to do the latter.
Acknowledging that the pandemic has caused divides in the community. Haff hopes this event will bring folks together to kick off the holiday season, remarking, “In these times that we’ve had for the last year and a half, it’s been hard on people, and this is something that most people can rally around,” asserted Haff. “It’s something fun, it’s family-oriented, it doesn’t cost anything and it’s something that most people, I think, can agree on.”