This year’s state Christmas tree is a 35-foot-tall concolor sheared fir, also known as a white fir. Photo by Michaela Catoe

Sirens echoed through the cool morning air as Columbia Police escorted this year’s 35-foot state Christmas tree to the North Lawn of the State House grounds.

First Lady Peggy McMaster welcomed the arrival of the concolor sheared fir from the Pinetum Christmas Tree Farm in Maryland owned by Marshall and Cindy Stacy. The Stacys have a vacation home in the Lowcountry, according to Melissa Prickett from the Columbia Garden Club.

“We are proud to work with them for the ninth consecutive year to deliver our tree,” Prickett said.

McMaster said she is looking forward to a happier and healthier holiday season, and hopes the trees will be a reminder of hope. 

“Covid was the ‘Grinch that stole Christmas’ in 2020, but thankfully things are returning to normal,” McMaster said.

The tree will remain unlit until the 55th annual Governor’s Carolighting on Nov. 21 at 6 p.m. 

Kelly Barbrey, vice president of marketing and communications for Experience Columbia SC, said they are proud to be sponsoring  the Governor’s Carolighting for the seventh year in a row. 

Barbrey thanked those involved in the collaborative efforts to get the tree to the State House. 

“We’d like to take a quick moment to thank the Columbia Garden Club, and the Garden Club of South Carolina for raising the funds to purchase the tree, as well as coordinating the decorating efforts with the assistance of Dominion Energy,” Barbrey said. 

Over the next few days, Dominion Energy and garden club members will hang 13,000 lights and over 900 ornaments on the tree in preparation for the annual Carolighting. 

Julia Herrin, Miss South Carolina 2021, said she is excited for the upcoming event, where she will perform accompanied by a children’s ensemble. The event will consists of performances from artists across South Carolina and a speech from the governor. 

In addition to the lighting of the tree, there will be a reading from the Christmas story in the Bible and performances from South Carolina’s historically Black colleges and universities, including Allen University, South Carolina State University, Claflin University, Morris College and Voorhees College.

The master of ceremonies for the event will be Pastor Tony Foster from Restoration Worship Center in Greenwood, S.C. 

The event is open to the public and will be streamed on ETV.