Christmas At The Capitol
A column by Gov. Dennis Daugaard:
When she was in the third grade, Linda Krutzfeldt received a Colorado blue spruce seedling. It was 1986 and a South Dakota Department of Agriculture forester was giving an Arbor Day presentation at Linda’s school in Huron. To go along with his presentation, the forester brought little trees for the children.
Linda took her tree home and planted it outside of her bedroom window so she could look at it each day and watch it grow. She even put a chicken wire fence around the tree to protect it. She called it “the little tree that could.” Under Linda’s care, the tree grew to 40 feet tall.
Thirty years later, that tree will be enjoyed by all who visit the Capitol this holiday season. Linda’s Colorado blue spruce is the tallest tree of this year’s Christmas at the Capitol display.
This season marks the 36th year of Christmas at the Capitol. The idea was spearheaded by Dottie Howe of Pierre in 1981. That first year there were 12 decorated trees. In 1988, Christmas at the Capitol organizers started inviting groups and organizations from throughout the state to send decorations for 30 Capitol trees. The popularity of the Christmas tree display kept growing and growing, and by 1997 groups were decorating 50 trees.
This year we have over 90 trees in our display. The largest tree donated by Linda and her family has been decorated by the Mt. Rushmore Society and the theme of the display is “A Monumental Christmas.”
Many volunteers have devoted precious hours to decorate the Capitol building for the holidays. As always, they have done an excellent job.
I hope you will find time this holiday season to come to Pierre to see Linda’s tree and experience Christmas at the Capitol. The display is open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days each week through Monday, Dec. 26.
I hope to see you there!