Governor Kathleen Sebelius (D-Kan.) ushered in the Christmas season Friday, Nov. 21, with the arrival of the official Cedar Crest Christmas tree.
The 9-foot tall Kansas-grown Spruce tree arrived at Cedar Crest's west parking lot at 11:30 a.m. and was taken on horse-drawn wagon to the front door before being placed in the living room.
"With the delivery of our Kansas-grown Christmas tree, the holiday season is ushered in," Sebelius said. "We're so lucky to have such a beautiful tree each year from local tree-growers. This also makes a great time for Kansas families to visit Cedar Crest to see the holiday decorations."
Around 10 years old, the official tree was grown at Bowen's Christmas Tree Farm in Pittsburg. In addition to Christmas trees, Bowen's sells wreaths, tree stands and garland and offers trailer rides and various hot drinks. For more information on buying trees locally, visit the National Christmas Tree Association website at http://www.christmastree.org/home.cfm.
There are about 100 Christmas tree growers in the state, according to the Kansas Christmas Tree Growers Association. Tree farms are a large component of the state's agri-tourism industry, which is defined as the crossroads between traditional agriculture and tourism. Farmers across Kansas are finding additional benefits in tailoring their operations to tourists. The industy thrives on tourists' growing interest in visiting an authentic ranch, roping a calf, riding a horse, touring a winery or picking their own Christmas tree.
"Visiting a local Christmas tree farm is not only a great time for the family, but a great way to support Kansas agri-tourism," Sebelius said.