Tree Lighting Ceremony Starts Holiday Season at State Capitol Dec. 12

[This post is a Department of Cultural Resources press release. To learn more about news and events related to cultural resources, visit the department website.]

RALEIGH — The tree-lighting tradition at the State Capitol will continue when Gov. Pat McCrory and First Lady Ann McCrory light the Christmas tree Thursday, Dec. 12. 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 Garner Magnet High Die Meisters. The governor and first lady 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.

Yellow Dog Bread Company will sell coffee and assorted pastries on the grounds throughout the evening. The Junior Woman’s Club will give away cookies and hot chocolate while local sports team mascots entertain the crowd prior to the ceremony. Even Santa is scheduled to make an appearance!

The annual holiday open house will begin at 6:30. The public is invited inside to see the Capitol’s holiday decorations, sponsored by the N.C. Department of Agriculture and featuring items grown, raised and harvested in our state. Meanwhile, the East Cary Middle School Steel Drum band will perform holiday music in the rotunda.

Governor Pat McCrory and First Lady Ann McCrory invite you to bring donations for North Carolina’s Rural Shelters. Pets are the heart of many North Carolina homes. Dogs and cats are surrendered for many different reasons or are rescued and our state’s shelters become their temporary homes. Help brighten the holidays by dropping off food, blankets, towels, toys and treats. Please help our state’s shelters provide the proper care for these adoptable pets until they find their forever home with a new family. We are pleased to be working with Bayou Rescue in this effort.

Please bring donations to the State Capitol Rotunda on Dec. 12, 13, 14, 15. Donations can include the following:

  1. Canned food for puppies, kittens and adult dogs and cats
  2. Toys for enrichment
  3. Blankets and towels for bedding and bathing
  4. Treats for all animals

Visitors will find the 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 The Tsars’ Cabinet andWindows into Heaven, will remain open until 7:30 p.m. at a discounted admission price (free for children ages 6 and under). The N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences also will be open, and will offer hands on activities and “meet the animals” for children. Discounted tickets to view the special exhibit Birds of Paradise will be sold until 6 p.m. and the museum will remain open until 9 p.m.

Sponsors are the State Capitol Foundation, State Historic Sites Division of the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources, N.C. Department of Agriculture, N.C. Department of Administration-Facility Management, N.C. Museum of History, N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences, the Downtown Clubs of Raleigh 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 Capital City/Cardinal Club of Raleigh. There will be free parking along the street and in state government lots after 5 p.m.

The State Capitol’s mission is to preserve and interpret the history, architecture and functions of the 1840 building and Union Square. The Capitol is bounded by Edenton, Salisbury, Morgan and Wilmington Streets. For more information, please visit or call (919) 733-4994.