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Capitol Christmas tree will stop in Asheville today

The U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree will visit Asheville today, making its appearance 3 to 6 p.m. at the Asheville Outlets on Brevard Road.

"We are thrilled and honored to have the Capitol Christmas Tree Tour stop here in Asheville as its only stop outside of Colorado. This will be a great event that can bring the community together in a safe way to celebrate the season," said Cavan Fitzsimmons, Acting Forest Supervisor for the National Forests in North Carolina.

Every year, a different national forest is selected to provide a tree to appear on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol building for the holiday season. For the 50th year of the tradition, the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forests in Colorado provided the selected tree. The forests, in partnership with nonprofit partner Choose Outdoors will bring this special gift from Colorado to Washington, D.C. for the 2020 season, involving a series of community celebrations Nov. 10 to 20 throughout Colorado to Asheville, culminating with the official tree lighting on the West Lawn in early December.

Under the theme of the "People's Tree," the 55-foot-tall Engelman Spruce was harvested on the Ouray Ranger District near Montrose, Colorado, on Nov. 5 and prepared for the 2,000-mile expedition.

Festivities during the tree's visit to Asheville will include a visit with Santa Claus, a toy drive, food trucks and more. Activities are open to the public and entry is free.

Safety of event attendees and staff will be a top priority. Face coverings are required for the event and social distancing will be maintained. Entry to the event area will be limited in accordance with state health department guidelines for outdoor events and sanitation stations will be setup throughout the event area. Attendees may also opt for the drive-through option.

The initiative made possible with cash and in-kind contributions from companies large and small as well as volunteers locally and across America, who provide vital support of time and resources.

For additional information on the Asheville event, follow @nfsnc on Facebook or visit www.capitoltreetracker.com . For news, events and tour information, and to track the tree's cross-country travel, visit www.uscapitolchristmastree.com  and follow the GMUG @GMUG.NF on Facebook.

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