By SAM SILVERSTEIN
WASHINGTON, Dec. 16 – A 40-foot Colorado spruce tree stands at the center of a festival of lights on the Ellipse that lasts through Christmas and into the new year.
The National Christmas Tree highlights the Pageant of Peace, an annual celebration of the holiday season that also features 56 smaller trees decked out with ornaments provided by all U.S. states and territories. The display includes model railroad trains provided by the Shenandoah and Potomac Valley Garden Railway Club and the National Capital Trackers, according to the National Park Service, which oversees the Ellipse.
President Bush flipped the switch that lit thousands of lights on the tree during a ceremony Dec. 7. That event included entertainment from Eartha Kitt, Cathy Rigby, the U.S. Army Band and others.
Nightly pageant performances continue through Dec. 23 at the Ellipse, located south of the White House fence. The celebration wraps up Jan. 1.
For more information on the Pageant of Peace, visit the National Park Service’s Web site.