FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 11/28/2016
HOUSE CHAMBER TO REOPEN TUESDAY WITH TREE’S ARRIVAL
After months of renovations, the Texas House chamber will reopen to the public on Tuesday with the arrival of a giant, Texas-grown Christmas tree.
At approximately 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, a 26-foot tree from Marshall Cathey’s farm in Denison will be moved into the House chamber. It will be adorned with lights and ornaments throughout the week. On Friday, Members of the Texas House and their spouses will hang ornaments collected through the District Ornament Project. Started in 2009 by Julie Straus, wife of Texas House Speaker Joe Straus, the District Ornament Project invites all Members to submit ornaments that reflect the unique character of their districts. Members often commission a local artist, school or nonprofit organization to decorate their ornaments.
The tree is decorated with both traditional Christmas ornaments and those collected through the District Ornament Project.
“The distinct character and diversity of Texas are reflected in these ornaments,” Julie Straus said. “Each ornament tells a story about a unique part of our state. I hope Texans will visit the Capitol during the holidays and see how their home communities are represented on the House Christmas tree.”
Visitors to the House chamber can find their home districts on a map in front of the tree. Once they find their districts, visitors can look through a large binder that provides photos of, and information about, each ornament.
The arrival of the Christmas tree also marks the first time since April that the House Chamber will be open to the public. The chamber has been closed for most of 2016 for upgrades including new carpeting, fresh paint along the walls and a retooled voting system.
Carla Jones, the President of the Texas Christmas Tree Growers Association, will arrive at the South Steps of the Capitol in a horse-drawn carriage at 11 a.m. Tuesday with three seven-foot Virginia Pine trees that will be placed around the Capitol. Texas First Lady Cecilia Abbott, along with representatives of the House and Senate, will greet Mrs. Jones.
“We have a wonderful partnership with the Texas Christmas Tree Growers Association,” Mrs. Straus said. “These trees make the Capitol even more beautiful during the Christmas season and reflect the many contributions that Christmas tree growers make to our state.”