The U.S. Capitol's Christmas tree is on a journey across the country and made a stop Tuesday in Perry, giving community members the chance to marvel at the 70-foot tree.
Students at Perry-Lecompton's middle and high schools, along with community members, spent the afternoon taking photos of the tree, signing the truck the tree is traveling in and listening to Gov. Jeff Colyer speak.
The tree stopped at Perry-Lecompton Middle School, 404 Lecompton Road, from noon to 2 p.m.
The 35-year-old tree is being hauled across the country by the Central Oregon Trucking Company, which has been with the tree since it was cut down in Willamette National Forest.
Phil Taylor, one of the drivers, said the tree was cut down Nov. 2 and it took five and one-half hours to drive the eight miles out of the forest.
Taylor said this is the first time this truck company has participated in the event.
"We are an Oregon-based company so I think it made great sense for them to ask us," Taylor said. "And we jumped at the opportunity and thought it was a really nice honor to be asked."
The 8,300 pound tree will arrive in Washington D.C. at 5 a.m. on Nov. 26.
The tree made a stop at Union Station in Kansas City after leaving Perry and will be in St. Louis Wednesday night.
Scott Owen, public affairs specialist for the U.S. Forest Service, said with the Oregon Trail celebrating 175 years, they wanted to make stops that followed the trail.
While Perry is not on the Oregon Trail, Owen said stops in small towns were made because of the size of the town where the tree was cut down.
"Sweet Home is a town of about 8,000 people from where the tree was cut and we wanted to hit some of the smaller towns coming across," Owen said, adding that a stop had never been made in Kansas.
This is also the first time a Noble Fir is being used as the Capitol's tree.
Perry-Lecompton Middle School principal Mike Maloun let students out of class for the duration of the tree's stop.
"I would say it's pretty special for our kids to get to experience this," he said. "It could be a once in a lifetime opportunity for them, plus for the community to see this."
People can follow along with the tree's journey at capitolchristmastree.com.