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Capitol Christmas Tree en route to spruce up Washington holiday

Courtesy of US Forest Service and CapitolChristmasTree2012.org

The Capitol Christmas Tree is harvested Friday at the White River National Forest.

Updated at 9:30 a.m. ET Sunday: Christmas is on its way to the U.S. Capitol.

The 73-foot Engelmann spruce that will serve as the official U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree was cut down Friday in Colorado’s White River National Forest, NBCWashington.com reported Saturday.

A crane lifted "Colorado’s gift to the United States" through the air before setting it on a huge flatbed truck, NBCWashington.com reported. Crews will wrap it up and prepare it for a national tour.

But first, according to CapitolChristmasTree2012.org, "The People's Tree" was getting a community sendoff in Meeker, Colo.

US Forest Service and CapitolChristmasTree2012.org

Capitol Christmas Tree celebrants sign a tree banner Saturday in Meeker, Colo., as "The People's Tree" at right awaits transport to Washington, D.C.

Saturday festivities included a street fair, tree banner signing, visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus, a formal presentation ceremony by the U.S. Forest Service, government officials and three Ute Indian tribes, young singers and a parade and fireworks.

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Last week, the Colorado state Forest Service harvested 75 subalpine fir trees from the Colorado State Forest near Gould to accompany the Capitol Christmas Tree, the Herald Times of Rio Blanco County reported. The companion trees will spend the holidays in U.S. government offices, the Herald said.

The Capitol Christmas Tree and companions will travel through 10 states on custom-decorated Mack Trucks before arriving in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 26. Santa will blog the whole way.

The tree also has a Facebook page.

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