State Christmas tree hails from Houghton Lake

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LANSING― The holiday season is a time of giving and that’s just what Beverly and Jerry Kilburn of Houghton Lake are doing for the people of Michigan – donating the 2011 state Christmas tree that will be on display in front of the Capitol.

Beverly Kilburn rescued the Blue spruce seedling from the middle of the road with her father when she was a little girl after it had fallen off the back of a tree farm truck and it was planted next to their garage.

“When the tree committee begins accepting nominations for Capitol Christmas tree each year it’s expected many of the submissions will come from the U.P. or other forest properties, not from someone’s backyard,” said Rep. Bruce Rendon, R-Lake City. “This is quite a story for our area.”

The setting of the annual state Christmas tree marks the start of the holiday season in Lansing that officially kicks off with the lighting of the tree on Nov. 18 as part of the 27th Annual Silver Bells in the City celebration.

“The decorated tree on the front lawn in front of the Capitol building is always an impressive sight that bursts with the cheer and spirit of the holiday season,” said Sen. Darwin Booher, R- Evart. “This year that glow will be a little bit warmer for us, knowing that the tree came from our home region.”

The state partners with the Michigan Association of Timbermen and the Great Lakes Timber Professionals Association to harvest and bring the tree to Lansing. After delivery, a state crew then works with Hi-Ball Company of Lansing, who volunteers a crane and additional crew to set the tree.

As with most holiday gift-giving, the Kilburns’ gift of the tree will provide a little extra in addition to the warm feeling and pride of their tree being on display for the entire state – they will have access to their garage that has been blocked by the growing tree for about the last 50 years.

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