State News

Perdue, Santa light state Christmas tree

Posted December 10, 2009 4:01 a.m. EST
Updated December 10, 2009 9:55 p.m. EST

— Gov. Bev Perdue's first year to light the North Carolina state Christmas tree featured something different.

Perdue and her husband, Bob Eaves, turned on the lights Thursday evening on a fir tree brought in from Ashe County and standing on the south side of old Capitol square in downtown Raleigh.

In recent years, then-Gov. Mike Easley lit a large bush-like tree that grows year-round on the old Capitol grounds.

Perdue spokeswoman Chrissy Pearson said the governor liked the idea of placing a tree facing downtown to provide a connection with the decorations along Fayetteville Street.

Santa Claus was also in attendance, and joined the governor in a reading of "The Night Before Christmas."

"We're going to have fun this evening, and we're going to have a wonderful time," Santa said during a morning visit to the WRAL-TV studios.

Singing groups and children's activities followed the tree-lighting ceremony.