November 10, 2011

Tuolumne, Calaveras, Mariposa and Alpine counties are celebrating with a parade and “Gifts from Under Our Tree,” a daylong event at the Motherlode Fairgrounds in Sonora with arts and crafts, storytellers, live music, food, wine tastings and more than 60 exhibits
SONORA, Calif. – Tuolumne, Calaveras, Mariposa and Alpine counties are planning a parade and a day filled with fun family activities and entertainment on Saturday, Nov. 5th to celebrate the arrival of this year’s U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree in the historic Sierra Nevada gold rush town of Sonora.
“This is a once in a lifetime celebration for Sonora,” said Maria Benech, coordinator for the 2011 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree, adding that as many as 10,000 people from the Central Valley, the Bay Area, and as far away as Lake Tahoe are expected to converge on Sonora to take part in the day’s activities.
The Four County fair, which is titled, “Celebrating Gifts from Under Our Tree,” is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Motherlode Fairgrounds in Sonora. Attractions include holiday themed arts and crafts activities for children and adults and more than 60 exhibits that showcase the history, art, culture, business and recreational offerings of Tuolumne, Calaveras, Mariposa, and Alpine counties.
Exhibits will feature some of the handmade ornaments that will adorn the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree as well as the winning work of art in the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree Art Competition.
The celebration will also include numerous food booths as well as booths with wine tastings. Live music will be provided by Kate Wallace and Annie Dahlgren, who will perform “Peace, Peace, Peace,” the winning entry in the 2011 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree Song Competition, as well as several other bands featuring Cajun, bluegrass and folk. These include the Blues Box Bayou Band, the Singing Nuns, WindHorse and JimblyLeg. Storytellers B.Z. Smith and Mark Stoltenberg will also be providing entertainment throughout the day.
The U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree itself is expected to arrive in Sonora around 3: 00 p.m. and will enter the city as part of a parade that will end at the
fairgrounds, where everyone will have a chance to see the Christmas tree before
the tree is packaged up for its cross-California and cross-country tour.
“Don’t tell anybody, but we’re hearing that Santa Claus himself is also
making arrangements to make a surprise visit to Sonora when the Christmas tree
arrives in town,” Benech said, adding that a few of Santa’s elves have already
been seen checking out the historic gold rush town.
“Smokey the Bear, Woodsy, Sammy the Salmon and Francis the Fish are
also expected to be on hand for the Christmas tree’s arrival,” she said.
Celebration participants will have a chance to sign a banner wishing
everyone in the United States a Merry Christmas. Admission to the event is being
offered free of charge, along with free parking. However, celebration attendees
are encouraged to bring a can of food as part of a “Pay It Forward” gift to Gallup,
N.M., from the people of California. As the Christmas tree tours across country,
additional food will be collected and eventually about 20 pallets of food will be
delivered to Gallup as a “Gift From Californians.” Gallup was selected to receive
these gifts of food because, in addition to being one of the poorest cities in the
country, it is along the route that the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree will be taking to
Washington, D.C.
Following the day’s events in Sonora, the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree is
expected to arrive in other Central California cities as follows:

  • Nov. 8th the tree will pass through Oakdale and Manteca, with stops
    allowing people to sign the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree banner, learn
    about the tree, purchase memorabilia, and be a part of the Christmas
  • Nov. 9th the tree will be in Sacramento, arriving at the State Capitol by
    1 p.m. Festivities are currently being planned.
    Nov. 10th the tree will arrive in Modesto at 10 a.m. and Merced by 2
    p.m., with stops allowing people to sign the U.S. Capitol Christmas
    Tree banner.
  • Nov. 11th, the tree will be showcased in the Fresno Veterans Day
    Parade in late morning (beginning about 11:00 a.m.) and will make a
    stop at the Fresno Children’s Hospital in Madera about 2 p.m. The
    tree is also scheduled to arrive in Kingsburg between 4 and 5 p.m.
    that evening.

08-Nov | Oakdale 11am – 3:30 pm G St near Yosemite Ave
08-Nov | Manteca 5:30pm – 7pm opening comments 5:45 Yosemite
                and Manteca Avenue (Library Park)
09-Nov | Sacramento 1pm to 6pm Capitol Bldg
10-Nov | Modesto, 10:30-12:30 p.m., near Modesto Centre Plaza on 11th Street
                between K and L Streets
10-Nov | Merced 4:00-6:00 Main Street and Canal (Bob Hart Square)
11-Nov | Fresno 11am Downtown Fresno parade
11-Nov | Central California Children’s Hospital 1:30 pm – 3 pm Madera
                at Hospital SNF firetruck/Smokey
11-Nov | Kingsburg 5pm – 7pm
12-Nov | Santa Clarita 10am – 3pm Saugus Swapmeet, 22500 Soledad Canyon Rd.
13-Nov | Los Angeles 11am – 5pm Autry Center
14-Nov | Rancho Cucamonga 10am – 2pm Victory Gardens – Mall
14-Nov | Barstow 5pm – 7pm unknown
15-Nov | Flagstaff, AZ
16-Nov | Gallup, NM 1:00-5:00 Cultural Center Parking – Railroad Museum
17-Nov | Santa Fe, NM Santa Fe Place Mall
18-Nov | Amarillo, TX 330 Downtown Library 413 E. 4th Ave
19-Nov | Tinker AFB, OK 2:30-6:00 on base – call Kathy 30 min out -
                enter at Truck gate 33
20-Nov | Ft. Leonard Wood, MO 2pm – 5pm PX at Constitution and Replacement
21-Nov | Santa Claus, IN Cringle Place Shopping Center
23-Nov | Cherokee NC 1000-100 Cherokee Indian Fairgrounds
24-Nov | Greensboro, NC 1pm – 530pm outdoor iceskating rink
25-Nov | Newport News, VA time info to come Oyster Point City Center
26-Nov | Dumpfries, VA 1000-100 rest stop on I-95
27-Nov | Hershey, PA time info to come Hershey Entertainment Complex

Maria Benech
2011 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree Coordinator
Stanislaus National Forest
(209) 532-3671, Ext. 263

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