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Christmas in November

The Capitol’s Christmas tree is cut and moved from Chippewa National Forest on Wednesday. The tree will make a stop in Red Wing on Nov. 7 on its way to Washington, D.C. Nicole Miller of the St. James Hotel was one of the attendees at Wednesday’s event where the tree was felled. (Photo courtesy Nicole Miller)

With Halloween barely past, Red Wing already is preparing for an early Christmas visit.

The U.S. Capitol’s Christmas tree will stop in Red Wing during its trek to Washington, D.C., from Chippewa National Forest, and the community is invited to a celebration Friday Nov. 7 from 4 to 8 p.m. at the St. James Hotel.

“Spruce-A-Palooza,” as it’s being called, will include entertainment, food, crafts, family activities and more to commemorate the visit.

“It’s a great thing to be part of this history,” said Nicole Miller, St. James Hotel director of sales and catering, who also traveled to the forest Wednesday to see the tree being cut down. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

This is the 50th anniversary Capitol Christmas tree tour and the first time the tree has stopped in Red Wing.

Local organizations, businesses, officials, residents and others have come together and been planning the event, and the St. James Hotel, Red Wing Shoe Co. and others are providing financial support for the celebration.

Friday’s event will include many activities, such as:

•Live music and entertainment from Red Wing High School’s Ovation Choir and Jazz Band, Universal Music Center and the Native American Parent Committee

•Cookie decorating with “Clara Lillyblad,” with cookies and decorations provided by Hanisch Bakery

•Visits from Santa and Mrs. Claus

•Free family portraits, provided by Helmer Printing

•Ornament decorating, provided by Red Wing Stoneware, ArtReach and the Christian Bookstore

•Free hot chocolate and cider, served by Chamber Ambassadors, Visitors & Convention Bureau and Downtown Main Street

•Krafty Kathy carving a giant pumpkin

•Speakers, including U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, state Sen. Matt Schmit, state Rep. Tim Kelly and Red Wing Mayor Dan Bender.

A drone operated by Lifetouch Photography, one of the tree tour sponsors, will capture the events in Red Wing, Miller noted.

The 88-foot tall white spruce is scheduled to arrive in Red Wing at about 5 p.m. Friday, escorted by Red Wing Police and Fire departments, and event organizers hope it will have a grand welcome.

“We want to line the street when its being escorted in,” Miller said. The tree will come down Highway 58, down Bush Street, turn on Main Street, turn right on Broad Street and go behind the St. James.

The tree is stopping in about 30 communities during its trip and will spend the night in Red Wing.

More information on the event and Christmas Tree tour is available at

Danielle Killey

Danielle Killey covers local government for the South Washington County Bulletin. She has worked as a reporter for other Forum Communications newspapers since 2011. She graduated from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities with a journalism degree.

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