Official Christmas Tree arrives at SC State House

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COLUMBIA, S.C. —The official State Christmas Tree arrived at the South Carolina Statehouse Monday morning and is now in place.

It’s a 35-foot tall sheared Concolor Fir, also known as a white fir, which came from the Pinetum Christmas Tree Farm in Swanton, Maryland. This is the fifth year in a row the state has gotten its tree from that farm, which is owned by Marshall and Cindy Stacy, who own a vacation house in the Lowcountry and consider South Carolina their second home.

The Columbia Garden Club, with support from the Garden Club of South Carolina, pays for the tree. TimberTech of Greer, S.C., donates its time and services to pick up the tree, transport it to the Statehouse and put it up. This is the 11th year the company has done that.

Why a tree from out of state? Martha Chandler, co-chair of the Christmas Tree Committee for the Columbia Garden Club, says, “We all know that our climate is quite conducive for growing our signature Palmetto trees, but it’s not so great for growing large Christmas trees.”

Bryan Price, owner of Price’s Christmas Tree Farms in Lexington, says it depends on the type of tree. He says it’s true that fir trees like the one the state has used for the last few years will not grow here. He knows because he tried a few years ago. The heat during the summer was too much for firs that thrive in colder weather and/or mountains, he says. But the state used to use red cedars for its state Christmas tree, and those do grow well here. He has one on his lot that he was grooming to be the official State Tree, but the state switched to firs a few years ago.

He will be providing three trees for the SC Governor’s Mansion, since he won “Best in Show” at the South Carolina State Fair last month.

SCE&G will put about 13,000 LED lights on the official State Tree at the Statehouse and garden club members will hang about 900 ornaments. The tree will remain dark, though, until the 50th Annual Governor’s Carolighting ceremony at 7 p.m. on Thursday, December 1st.