Gov. Beverly Perdue's first year to light the North Carolina state Christmas tree will feature something different.
Perdue and husband Bob Eaves will turn on the lights Thursday evening on a fir tree brought in from Ashe County and standing on the south side of old Capitol square in downtown Raleigh.
In recent years, then-Gov. Mike Easley lit a large bush-like tree that grows year round on the old Capitol grounds.
Perdue spokeswoman Chrissy Pearson said the governor liked the idea of placing a tree facing downtown to provide a connection with the decorations along Fayetteville Street.
Singing groups and children's activities will follow the tree-lighting ceremony. Perdue and "Santa Claus" also plan to read to children in attendance.