Christmas trees to adorn state capitol Christmas trees will fill the Capitol hallways next month for the 22nd annual Christmas at the Capitol holiday display.
More than 100 Christmas trees will be on display in the capitol hallways. The display is open to the public from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. each day. The display begins with a grand lighting ceremony on Tuesday, Nov. 26 and runs through Dec. 25.
Schools, churches, communities, and civic groups from across the state decorate the trees. This year the theme is "Holiday Traditions from the Heart." Future Farmers of America and Family, Career and Community Leaders of America chapters are decorating the two-story South Dakota Tree featured in the capitol rotunda.
"The people from across South Dakota who come to Pierre and share their Christmas spirit with us do a beautiful job of making our capitol a truly special, wonderful place during the holidays," Gov. Bill Janklow said. "You can see and feel the meaning of Christmas in the capitol."
Among the groups scheduled to decorate a tree this year is Vermillion's Catholic Daughters of the Americas organization.
In addition to the trees, many other parts of the capitol are decorated, including the grand marble staircase, the capitol grounds and the Governor's residence.
Model train exhibits will again be a part of the holiday display. Model railroaders will set up their displays in the visitors center, next to the capitol, on three weekends.
On many evenings and weekends, musical artists perform in the capitol, adding to the Christmas spirit. People interested in performing in the capitol can contact Jo Doll, 773-3411 for more information.
Rawlins Public Library, Pierre, will host children's story times at the capitol at 6:30 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and 10:30 a.m. Saturdays during the display.
The annual display began in 1981, when Janklow asked local schools and senior citizens centers to provide decorations for a display of 14 trees in the capitol rotunda. More than 40,000 people now visit the capitol every year to enjoy the display that includes trees on four floors of the capitol.
The display is open free to the public. For more information about visiting the capitol and other attractions in Pierre,
including the new South Dakota World War II Memorial, call the Pierre Area Chamber of Commerce at 1-800-962-2034.