WASHINGTON D.C. – If you’re planning to be in Washington during Dec. 4, like to experience local traditions and you tend to be a lucky person, here’s a tip for you.
On Oct. 17, you can enter the lottery to win free tickets to attend the National Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony outdoors at the Ellipse, the grassy area on the south side of the White House. The annual event was started under President Calvin Coolidge in 1923. POTUS has attended ever since.
The catch to landing tickets? Apply early and get lucky or know someone who’s lucky, since you can’t buy tickets. You can find the details to enter at http://thenationaltree.org/. Note that there are two levels of tickets, general admission (which requires you to stand the entire time) and the highly coveted seated section close to the stage.
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Last year, the elaborate ceremony included brief-but-live performances by artists such as Aretha Franklin, Mariah Carey, Train, The Avett Brothers and Janelle Monae. I was lucky enough to go last year with my sons our our family friends, who luckily had spare tickets, so enjoy the photos.
If you go, remember to dress warmly in case it’s cold and carry only essentials since you have to go through security. It’s also wise to wear shoes that are comfortable and can withstand mud, in case the grassy lawn is wet.
Readers: Do you like to try to attend local traditions when traveling on business?