RALEIGH – An annual North Carolina tradition continues as Gov. Bev Perdue and First Gentleman Bob Eaves host the annual tree-lighting ceremony at the State Capitol on Thursday, Dec. 6. The Junior Woman’s Club and State Capitol historic site host this free, public celebration. The festivities begin at 5 p.m. with luminaries being lit and holiday music by the Raleigh Concert Band and the Langston Ladies and Lads singing group. The governor and first gentleman will make their way to the south grounds at 6:15 p.m. to officially begin the ceremony. The lit tree will be visible the length of Fayetteville Street.
Local food trucks will open for business at 5 p.m. on Morgan Street. The Junior Woman’s Club will give away cookies and hot chocolate while local sports team mascots entertain the crowd prior to the ceremony. Santa is scheduled to make an appearance.
The annual holiday open house will begin at 6:30 p.m. The public can tour the Capitol’s holiday decorations, including trees decorated in honor of breast cancer awareness and the 100th anniversary of Girl Scouting. Meanwhile, the 8501 Youth Hand Bell Choir will perform holiday music in the rotunda.
Visitors will find the N.C. Museum of History and gift shop open, and will enjoy the giant decorated tree in the lobby. Old fashioned toys and games, a “make and take” craft and exhibits add to the fun. Exhibits, including Real to Reel: The Making of Gone with the Wind;The Story of North Carolina and At the Speed of a Girl–Celebrating 100 Years of Girl Scouting will remain open until 7:30 p.m. The N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences also will be open, and will offer hands on activities and “meet the animals” for children. Tickets to view Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition will be sold until 7 p.m. and the museum will remain open until 9 p.m.
Sponsors are the State Capitol Foundation, N.C. Historic Sites, N.C. Department of Administration-Facility Management, N.C. Museum of History, N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences and the Junior Woman’s Club of Raleigh. The 24-foot tree was grown by Peak Farms in Ashe County and is sponsored by the Cardinal Club of Raleigh. There will be free parking along the street and in state government lots after 5 p.m.
The State Capitol Historic Site is a unit of N.C. Department of Cultural Resources. For more information on North Carolina arts, history and culture, visit Cultural Resources online.