The moment finally arrived this afternoon when a Boise fifth grader flipped the switch, lighting the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree.

Isabella Gerard got the honor of turning on the lights. She was joined by Speaker of the House Paul Ryan for a lighting ceremony on the west lawn of the U.S. Capitol.

It was a special moment for Isabella and all of Idaho.

The 80-foot Engelmann spruce tree was cut down in the Payette National Forest last month just outside of McCall. After a 4,000-mile cross country journey, the Idaho tree is now shining brightly for the world to see.

KTVB's Mark Johnson was there for the ceremony and spoke with Isabella about that great honor. Although it rained during the ceremony, the wet weather did not dampen their spirits. You can see that interview by watching the video with this story.

Mark also spokes with Idaho Senators Mike Crapo and Jim Risch who are still reveling in the excitement of having Idaho in the nation's spotlight. Crapo said he was impressed by the reach of the event and how thousands of people got involved. And that it was all done without using any taxpayer dollars.

The Salmon River Brewery in McCall created a new ale that is flavored by the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree.
The Salmon River Brewery in McCall created a new ale that is flavored by the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree.


The Engelmann spruce that now stands before our nation's capitol was harvested at the Little Ski Hill just outside of McCall a month ago. Our Brian Holmes was there on that historic day.

Brian traveled to the Salmon River Brewery in McCall Tuesday where they hosted a special watch party for the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree lighting ceremony.

The brewery recently unveiled its U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree Ale in celebration of the Idaho roots of the big event. Branches from the tree were used in the making of the beer, which Brian describes as having a "piney" flavor.

Matt Hurlbutt with Salmon River Brewery calls this brew "Christmas tree in a glass." He says the first batch of 16 cases sold out in about a half hour.

For those who did not get to sample the beer, another batch of 36 cases is in the works and should be ready for sale by this weekend. It is expected to sell out quickly.