A Capital Christmas

The “many hands make light work adage” was in action at the N.C. Capitol Historic site in the decorating days leading up to the lighting of the official state tree on Union Square in downtown Raleigh. “Loretta Manquist our receptionist is actually the designer of all of the decorations,” said Terra Schramm, state capitol site administrator. “She works like a little elf and gives us our marching orders.”Merlyn Farms in Banner Elk won the 2016 North Carolina Christmas Tree Association tree contest and seven gorgeous trees from their farm can be seen at the Capitol — six trees inside and the official state tree that was lit on Dec. 8 outside.The county tree sits inside the rotunda, “Each ornament on the county tree is sent in from the counties,” said Schramm. “People love to come in and look for their county ornament on the tree.”There is also an agricultural tree downstairs featuring ornaments representing North Carolina crops and upstairs an additional four trees.State symbols are woven into the theme throughout from cardinals nestled in the greenery swags to the dogwood flowers placed on the wreaths. This year the N.C. Tree Association winning wreaths come from Rusty and Beau Estes, of Peak Farms in Jefferson.The Capitol hosted their annual open house Thursday, Dec. 8 through Saturday, Dec. 10. Check their website, nchistoricsites.org/capitol/ for times to visit because the rotunda tree makes for the perfect Christmas photo opportunity.