National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony on December 1

Thursday, October 20, 2011

(Washington, D.C.) -- The National Park Service and the National Park Foundation announce today the annual National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony will be held on Thursday, December 1, 2011, at 5:00 p.m. (EST), on the Ellipse in Washington, D.C.   Tickets for the event will be awarded via an online lottery system, providing the general public a chance to obtain free tickets to the ceremony.  

The online lottery will be available beginning at 10:00 a.m. (EST) on Thursday, November 3rd (or 9:00 a.m. (CST), 8:00 a.m. (MST) and 7:00 a.m. (PST).   The ticket lottery remains open through 9:59 a.m. EST on Monday, November 7th (or 8:59 a.m. CST, 7:59 a.m. MST and 6:59 a.m. PST), by going to www.thenationaltree.org and following the link to the online ticket lottery application page at www.recreation.gov.  The National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony marks the opening of the four-week event sponsored by the National Park Service and the National Park Foundation, the official fundraising partner of America’s national parks.  

The lottery at www.thenationaltree.org will include 3,000 ticketed seats and 14,000 standing room tickets.   The website will contain all necessary information to apply for 2011 National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony tickets.   Additionally, any ticket seeker without access to a computer may also call (877-444-6777 or for TDD 877-833-6777) beginning Thursday, November 3rd through Monday, November 7th to place their name into the lottery.  Once the lottery is completed, ticket lottery seekers who submitted their request via computer will be notified via email.  Successful ticket seekers who applied by calling the above-listed number will receive a notice sent via U.S. Mail.   Beginning Thursday, November 10th, all ticket seekers may check the status of their request online or through the call center after the conclusion of the lottery.   The tickets are free and may not be sold.    

Tickets will be mailed by Monday, November 14 to ticket winners through the U.S. Postal Service.  The package that ticket lottery winners will receive provides their tickets and other important event information including directions, map, event schedule, restricted items, and other planning information.  Please be advised tickets are required for every attendee, including all children.

The National Park Service is also pleased to announce there will be 14,000 additional public tickets in a standing room area.  Ticket seekers are advised this area will be a strictly standing-room only, as there are no chairs nor are portable chairs allowed in the event site.  The standing room only section will have a clear view of the National Christmas Tree, and a large screen showing the stage production, but will have a limited view of the event stage.  Tickets for the standing room area will be available through the same ticket lottery described above.

The gates for the National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony will open for all ticket holders at 3:00 p.m. and all ticket holders must be in their seats or in the standing room area by 4:30 p.m.  

This year’s talent line up for the lighting ceremony will be announced in November.  Talent announcements, as well as other event details and a live webstream of the ceremony will be available at www.thenationaltree.org.   

Guests are reminded that aerosols of any kind, fireworks/firecrackers, animals (except guide dogs), duffel bags/suitcases/backpacks/coolers, real or simulated ammunition, knives of any kind, mace/pepper spray, laser lights/pointers, chairs, and glass containers are prohibited.  This list may not be inclusive.  Law enforcement personnel reserve the right to prohibit any other items determined to be a potential public safety hazard.   Strollers, wheelchairs and diaper bags are allowed, but guests should be prepared for a search of all items carried onto the site.      

Parking is not available near the White House.  The National Park Service strongly encourages the use of public transportation.  The closest Metro stops are Metro Center, Federal Triangle, Farragut North, Farragut West and McPherson Square.  For questions about the National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony, please call the White House Visitor Center at (202) 208-1631, or visit the National Park Service website at www.nps.gov/whho or the event-related web site at www.thenationaltree.org.    

The National Christmas Tree Lighting will also be made available to television viewers on PBS stations across the country. Check local listings for broadcast times.

The National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony is presented by the National Park Foundation and National Park Service with support from premier sponsor, Underwriters Laboratories.  Other supporters include G.E. Consumer & Industrial.

ABOUT THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE
The National Park Service preserves unimpaired the natural and cultural resources and values of the National Park System and its 395 National Park sites for the enjoyment, education, and inspiration of this and future generations.  The National Park Service cooperates with partners to extend the benefits of natural and cultural resource conservation and outdoor recreation throughout this country and the world.  For more information, visit www.nps.gov.        

ABOUT THE NATIONAL PARK FOUNDATION
You are the part-owner of 84 million acres of the world’s most treasured memorials, landscapes, ecosystems and historical sites -- all protected in America’s nearly 400 national parks. Chartered by Congress, the National Park Foundation is the official charity of America’s national parks. We work hand in hand with the National Park Service to help connect you and all Americans to the parks, and to make sure that they are preserved for the generations who will follow.

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Marjorie Hall
Director, Communications
National Park Foundation
1201 Eye Street, NW Suite 550B
Washington, DC 20005
Direct:  202-354-6480
mhall@nationalparks.org