LITTLE ROCK — The centerpiece of the state Capitol's holiday extravaganza, a 24-foot eastern red cedar, was delivered Wednesday. The tree was donated by Donna and Tracey Bemis, owners of Bemis Tree Farm in Little Rock.

LITTLE ROCK — The centerpiece of the state Capitol’s holiday extravaganza, a 24-foot eastern red cedar, was delivered Wednesday. The tree was donated by Donna and Tracey Bemis, owners of Bemis Tree Farm in Little Rock.

“This is all part of the tradition of … bringing the Christmas spirit to the Capitol and making sure that we continue the traditions that bring us together at this time year,” Secretary of State Mark Martin said.

In a break of tradition, the tree, which for the past 16 years had been erected in the 2nd floor Rotunda, will be erected on the first floor.

Alex Reed, spokesman for the secretary of state, said the decision to relocate the tree was made after several people said they enjoyed seeing the tree as they entered the Capitol. Also, it can be seen by people driving through the first floor tunnel.

Martin said the Christmas tree tradition started at the state capitol in 1938 and the first tree was an aluminium-colored evergreen which actually stood at the base of the front steps in the Capitol.

“Century of Service” is the theme for the 73rd annual Capitol holiday celebration. The lighting of more than three miles of lights around the Capitol grounds is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Saturday following the Big Jingle Jubilee Downtown Holiday Parade.

The Arkansas Thunder drum and bugle corps and penguins Laura and Sampson from the Little Rock Zoo will attend Saturday’s lighting ceremony. Afterward, Santa Claus will visit with children in the Capitol rotunda while Arkansas vocal groups Top of the Rock and Diamond State Chorus perform.