From partisan town to winter wonderland with the flick of a switch

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Photos and Story by Time Sampson

Picture above: The governor’s Christmas tree shines against the glowing Capitol dome in Jefferson City. On Friday, Gov. Jay Nixon and his wife Georganne led the annual tree lighting ceremony at their home.

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – With a flick of the switch, the Governor’s mansion lit up the cool evening sky Friday night heralding the start of the holiday season in the state capitol.

In an annual tradition, Gov. Jay Nixon and his wife Georganne threw open the doors to their capitol city home and welcomed in holiday revelers to tour the historic residence, listen to festive choirs and bask in the glow of the state Christmas tree.

“This is one of our favorite traditions,” the governor said from the steps of the mansion before he threw the switch to light up the mansion and it’s two majestic white pines – one inside and one on the lawn.

The tours, which continue through the weekend, are part of the annual downtown Jefferson City holiday festival. It’s a celebration that features lighted “Living Window” displays in local shops, while students from near-by Lincoln University hand out free hot chocolate and candy canes to passers-by.

Picture left: Choir Members of the Joplin High School Choir sing Christmas carols on the steps of the Governor’s Mansion before the tree lighting ceremony Friday night. Gov. Jay Nixon praised Joplin’s resilience in the face of disaster this year.

This year’s festivities were made even more special by the inclusion of Joplin High School’s Choir, who were invited to sing on the steps of the mansion before the tree lighting. Nixon applauded the school for quickly reopening after last May’s devastating tornado.

Holiday tours of the mansion continue Saturday from 2 to 4 p.m. The tours give an intimate look into several rooms of the historic building, which has been home to Missouri’s governors since 1871. The Mansion is located at 100 Madison St. in Jefferson City.

Picture below:  Visitors to the Missouri Governor’s Mansion look on as a local choir sings Christmas carols. Every year, Missouri’s governor and first lady open up their home for the public to tour the historic building and see the holiday decorations.