December 4, 2017
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Tree-lighting, Santa visit signal start of holiday season in state Capitol

The 29th annual lighting of the state's Holiday Kids' Tree was a festive occasion on Friday night. Music, lights, children visiting with Santa, and, most of all, a spirit of generosity brought an enthusiastic opening to the holiday and Christmas season in Olympia and for all of Washington.

Secretary of State Kim Wyman was on hand to light the tree with the help of seven-year veteran of the Washington National Guard Company Commander and 1st Lieutenant Shawnta M. DiFalco and her two daughters, ages 14 and 16.

AWB’s annual Holiday Kids’ Tree Project has raised more than $400,000 since 1989 to distribute to rural fire departments to help their local families have a bright holiday season. All donations are funded by AWB members and the private sector.

Wyman and AWB President Kris Johnson met with DiFalco and representatives from rural fire departments shortly before the tree lighting to distribute checks and bags of toys. Johnson thanked the fire officials for the ways they serve their communities.

The tree’s theme is “Friends of the Forest” and features stuffed ornaments representing animals native to Washington state, including the state bird, the American Goldfinch. All the ornaments are wrapped and sent to children's hospitals after the tree comes down at the end of December.

All the details of the tree lighting, including a fact sheet on this year’s tree, can be read here.

For more information on the Holiday Kids’ Project or to donate to it, contact Bonnie Millikan at 360.943.1600.

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