Staff Photo: Sue Ann Kuhn-Smith
Thornton Marshall of the Georgia Building Authority and Jake Mason of Berry's Tree Farm haul a tree that will be displayed at the State Capitol.
COVINGTON -- The governor and first lady will be enjoying the products of a local farm over the holidays this year.
Berry's Tree Farm in Almon is donating 10 Christmas trees to the state that will be displayed at the Governor's Mansion and the Capitol this year.
Owner Chuck Berry said he's made several donations over the last decade, and he was asked to contribute again this year. Berry donated several varieties of trees -- Leyland cypress; Virginia pine; Fraser fir; and Carolina sapphire -- ranging in height from 6 to 10 feet. Berry is the Georgia director on the National Christmas Tree Association board. Last year, Berry said he received a letter from Gov. Deal thanking him for a tree that was in his office.
Some of Berry's trees will grace the state troopers' office and the doorway of the mansion.
"We are decking the halls at the mansion, and we are very lucky to receive these donations of trees from suppliers and producers and growers from around the state," said Joy Forth, executive director at the Governor's Mansion. Forth said the mansion will boast 32 trees this year.
"To start with, being able to have these trees donated saves taxpayers from around the state from having to purchase them. It's very important to be good stewards of the taxpayers' money and to be able to prominently feature these wonderful trees," Forth said.
Gov. Nathan Deal and First Lady Sandra Deal will kick off the Christmas season at the Governor's Mansion tree lighting ceremony at 6:30 p.m. Sunday. This event is open to the public and is also the start for the Governor's Mansion Christmas tours, which run from Dec. 3-18. The Governor's Mansion is a collection site for Toys for Tots as well as a donation location for the Salvation Army's Red Kettle Campaign.
Hours for tours are 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Monday through Friday; 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saturdays; and 1 to 4 p.m. Sundays.
To make a reservation or for more information on the Christmas tours, call 404-261-1776. Reservations are required for groups of 10 or more.