The Washington Post

Steven Spielberg fails to stop Christmas in Richmond

Christmas will come to Richmond’s Capitol Square now that these extras, and everyone else in Steven Spielberg's movie about Lincoln, have cleared out. (Laura Vozzella/Washington Post)

The annual tree lighting at the capitol, called off last month because Steven Spielberg is shooting a movie on the site, is back on again.

Filming in Capitol Square wrapped up Monday. Next Monday, a tree will go up on the south portico of the Capitol, which stood in for the White House in Spielberg’s Lincoln movie. The next day, the tree gets a formal lighting ceremony.

Gov. Bob McDonnell’s office has said all along that a tree, usually installed in early December, would be erected at the capitol as soon as Hollywood was done with the place. But the office also said that the ceremonial lighting would be nixed.

In a welcome case of political flip-floppery, McDonnell’s office reversed course Monday and announced plans for “a small Capitol Tree Lighting ceremony” with the governor and first lady Maureen McDonnell.

“At Gov. McDonnell’s request, the lighting will once again take place after filming concludes,” said Paul Logan, his deputy press secretary.

The ceremony, which begins at 5:15 p.m. Dec. 20, is free and open to the public.

Laura Vozzella covers Virginia politics for The Washington Post.

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