Still dark on the Ellipse as National Christmas Tree remains dimmed

National Christmas Tree
A dark National Christmas Tree is seen Saturday night. (Courtesy Shirley Couteau) (Courtesy Shirley Couteau)
An unlit National Christmas Tree is seen with the National Monument behind it. (Courtesy Shirley Courteau)
An unlit National Christmas Tree is seen with the National Monument behind it. (Courtesy Shirley Couteau) (Courtesy Shirley Courteau)
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National Christmas Tree
An unlit National Christmas Tree is seen with the National Monument behind it. (Courtesy Shirley Courteau)

WASHINGTON — The lights on the National Christmas Tree flickered on and off Sunday as the National Park Service assessed damage to the tree.

The hope is that the lights will be on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.

Jenny Anzelmo-Sarles, a spokeswoman for the National Park Service, said NPS is working on a partnership with the National Park Foundation that would allow for NPS to get the lights repaired.

The National Park Foundation is providing materials and labor for the restoration, Anzelmo-Sarles said.

Some of the lights on the Colorado blue spruce are still damaged after a man climbed the tree and refused to come down for almost an hour Friday

Anzelmo-Sarles said that the government shutdown made it more difficult to repair the damaged sections.

The man, who has not been identified, climbed the tree near the White House at 5:45 p.m. Friday. He remained in the tree until two negotiators convinced him to come down at about 7 p.m, said U.S. Park Police Sgt. Eduardo Delgado.

The National Park Service said the man made it between 15 feet and 20 feet up the tree before climbing down on his own accord. No one was injured, but the man was taken to the hospital for evaluation.

The holiday performance scheduled for Saturday in President’s Park was canceled because of the lighting issue, NPS said.

The National Christmas Tree is a Colorado blue spruce that was grown in Virginia before it was uprooted and moved to the Ellipse in 2012. It was a replacement for a tree that was planted in 1978 and was felled during a February 2011 windstorm.


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