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December 4, 2018

Holiday Kids' Tree arrives with cheers and laughter

By: Andrew Lenderman   Comments: 0
The holiday season arrived Tuesday, Dec. 4 at the Capitol in Olympia with the arrival of the 30th annual AWB Holiday Kids' Tree. Here, state employees and volunteers carry the 29-foot Noble fir tree in the front doors to the rotunda. (Photo: Brian Mittge/AWB)

The holiday season has arrived on a bright, clear and cold Tuesday morning.

Laughter, cheers and the smell of freshly cut wood filled the Capitol rotunda this morning with the arrival of the 30th annual AWB Holiday Kids’ Tree.

People stopped to look and snap pictures as employees from the state Department of Enterprise Services (DES) first cut-to-size and later carried the tree up the Capitol steps and into the rotunda.

This year’s tree is a 29-foot Noble fir tree was donated by Weyerhaeuser’s Vail Tree Farm. The state workers that heaved, pushed and pulled it in the front door of Washington’s capital carried it on several wooden beams, and worked as a team, step by step. The Capitol’s marble columns were protected by plastic and cardboard as the branches brushed by.

“Think of like a rowing team, and how they do it,” said Katy Stark, a property manager with DES. “It’s amazing.”

Scott Lindsey was at the front of pack today. He’s helped with the tree project for many years. Lindsey retired from state government public service about 10 years ago, but he still likes to decorate for Christmas. He’s even got a collection of AWB coffee mugs that mark these special events.

“It starts the holiday season,” Lindsey said. “It’s fun. I think it’s also a worthy cause. It helps kids out that can use a helping hand.”

AWB’s Holiday Kids’ Tree Project also raises money from member businesses and individuals for kids and families in need. This year’s donations will be presented to officials from 18 rural fire districts on Friday, at the official tree lighting ceremony. The fire officials will then use the donations to buy food and gifts for families in need in nine Washington counties, including Grant, Grays Harbor, Lewis, Mason, Spokane, Thurston, Okanogan, Chelan and Walla Walla.

It’s another great example of Washington employers giving back to their communities.

This year’s tree will feature plush teddy bear ornaments, and about 7,000 LED lights. The theme for this year’s ornaments is “Military Bears,” stuffed animals outfitted with uniforms from each of the U.S. military branches.

The teddy bears will be donated to area children’s hospitals after the tree comes down.

Donations are still being accepted. To learn more or get involved, contact AWB’s Bonnie Millikan at 360.943.1600 or

And plan to join AWB and the community at the tree lighting event on Friday at 6 p.m. Gov. Jay Inslee, First Lady Trudi Inslee and Olympia Police Officer Jon Hazen and family will be on hand to light the tree.