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Christmas tree at U.S. Capitol will come from Minnesota

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A tree from the Chippewa National Forest in Minnesota has been chosen as this year's U.S. Capitol Christmas tree, the Brainerd Dispatch reports.

Officials from the U.S. Forest Service and the U.S. Capitol came to the forest in northern Minnesota last month to choose the tree out of a few dozen candidates. They also chose another tree as a backup just in case something happens to the first, such as a lightning strike.

The Capitol Christmas Tree is provided by the U.S. Forest Service, and each year it comes from a different national forest. This year the Chippewa National Forest has the honor. The last time the Capitol tree came from Minnesota was 1992, according to the Capitol Christmas Tree website.

"This gift from Minnesota and Chippewa National Forest provides opportunities to connect with communities and partners, and helps build awareness of natural resources of our state," said Chippewa National Forest Supervisor Darla Lenz, according to the Dispatch. "Truly, a one in a million find."

The tree that's chosen must be hardy enough to withstand the trip to Washington DC, which will begin in late October. Other selection criteria include a height of 60 to 80 feet, a full pyramid-like shape without gaps, healthy branches and a straight trunk, according to the Dispatch.

The Forest Service has not disclosed the location of the selected trees, to prevent them from being damaged.

The tree-cutting ceremony will take place on Oct. 29. It will then be taken by truck to the nation's capital and set up on the west lawn of the U.S. Capitol building. The tree-lighting ceremony usually takes place after Thanksgiving; it's scheduled by the Speaker of the House.

Other evergreen trees from Minnesota, provided by the Minnesota Tree Growers Association, will be placed inside the offices of various officials in Washington.

The Christmas tree committee wants Minnesotans to provide 10,000 ornaments that will be used to decorate the tree. There are a few guidelines to follow, which you can find here.

Here's some video of last year's Capitol Christmas Tree lighting ceremony.

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