PROVIDENCE, RI – The annual tree-lighting ceremony at Rhode Island State House will take place next week, Governor Dan McKee announced on Tuesday. The celebration will start at 5:00 p.m. on December 2, with the tree lighting around 6:15 p.m.
Two Christmas trees will be on display at the State House this year. A 12-foot Douglas fir from Henry’s Christmas Tree Farm in Scituate will stand outside the building, facing Francis and Gaspee streets. Inside the rotunda, an 18-foot artificial tree will be on display.
The living tree was purchased with donations from local businesses, McKee’s office said. The artificial tree, meanwhile, was purchased by former governor Gina Raimondo in 2019, with funds from the 2017 National Association of Governors conference.
“Celebrating the State House holidays and lighting the trees is one of the most festive times of the year,” McKee said. “This is an opportunity for Rhode Islanders from 39 towns and cities to come together and celebrate the season. My family and I are excited to join the Rhode Islanders for an evening filled with family fun as we launch the holiday season. “
After lighting the tree, the governor and the first lady will read “The night before Christmas”. Performances will include Billy Gilman, the Cumberland Clef Singers, Paul Cuffee Lower School Choir and “The Governor’s Own” 88th Army Band’s Portrait of Green Septet. Santa and Mrs. Claus will also be one-shot to take socially distanced photos with the kids.
All participants are asked to bring an unwrapped toy to donate to the Rhode Island State Police Stuff A Cruiser Drive. The toys will be distributed to local charities for children in need this holiday season. All children who donate a toy will participate in a raffle for a new scooter.
With coronavirus safety precautions in mind, the tree lighting ceremony will be held outside, weather permitting, on the south lawn of the State House. In the event of bad weather, it will be canceled.