The nation’s Christmas tree is scheduled to make its way through Los Angeles County on Saturday, making a stop around 9:15 a.m. at Mike’s Diner in Castaic, where 30 members of the Patriotic Guard Riders will escort the tree to the Saugus Swapmeet, where the tree will be on display from about 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
While the tree is at the Swapmeet, people can sign the banner that will surround the tree once it arrives in Washington D.C. The tree has become a real magnet, a focal point for communities to come together and simply celebrate the season and our country. The Prayer Angels for the Military will also be at the tree with cards people can sign to be sent to our troops overseas.
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Numerous activities are planned in conjunction with the tree on Saturday, including a show by the Junior ROTC Color Guard at 10 a.m., a performance by the Valencia High School Band at 11:30 a.m. and a performance by singer/playwright Marilyn Hackett who will be singing “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” and other songs. Ornament-making activities are also being planned for children; food booths and booths for various non-profit and charitable groups will also be set up.
We do have a second truck with us that we are hoping to fill up with food donations for the people of Gallup, N.M., which is a stop on our tour next week. Gallup was recently identified by the U.S. Census as one of the poorest cities in the country, The donations of non-perishable food items will be delivered as a gift to the people of Gallup from the people of California. The food delivered will be divided between two food banks that serves the people of Gallup.
When the tree leaves Santa Clarita Saturday afternoon, it will move south for a display on Sunday at the Autry Center in Griffith Park. Activities at the Autry are planned from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., including speeches by local dignitaries, including Councilman Tom LaBonge and top officials from the Angeles, Cleveland and Stanislaus National Forests as well as the Wells Fargo Foundation. Wells Fargo is one of many businesses whose financial contributions are making the tour possible.
On Monday, the tree is scheduled to hit the 210 Freeway eastbound around 7:30 a.m. and will be arriving at Victoria Gardens Shopping Mall in Rancho Cucamonga where it will be stationed from about 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. It will be parked near the Bass store. You can track the tree by visiting www.trackthetree.com.
After Victoria Gardens, the tree will head east to Barstow, where it will be on display at the Tanger Outlet Mall from about 4:30 to 6 p.m. The Barstow Junior High School Band will be performing and refreshments will be provided. A short program is also being organized by the city.