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Capitol Christmas Tree to swing through Blackduck in November

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news Bemidji, 56619
Bemidji Minnesota P.O. Box 455 56619

The U.S. Capitol Christmas tree was cut out of the Chippewa National Forest in 1992 and will be again on Oct. 29.

In December, it was announced that the 2014 Capitol Christmas tree would come from the forest and was recently selected by staff from the U.S. Capitol and the Washington Office of the USDA Forest Service. The tree will displayed on the front lawn of the Capitol in Washington, D.C.

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A cutting ceremony has been announced for Oct. 29 and according to Mike Theune, Public Affairs Officer for the Chippewa National Forest, a location for the celebration will be announced soon. Engineers are working to determine if having the ceremony at the location of the tree, which hasn’t been announced, will be safe for the public to attend.

“There’s actually a number of cranes involved and a large truck because you don’t want to damage the branches when the tree comes down,” Theune said. “There’s actually two cranes and one holds the bottom and one holds the top and they actually swing it over and place it on a truck and trailer that’s over 100 feet.”

If it’s determined that it isn’t safe to have the ceremony at the site of the tree, it will happen at the town closest to where the tree stands.

“If we can have a group of people out there safely then ideally we’d have it out there,” Theune said.

The Chippewa National Forest covers 666,623 acres in Beltrami, Cass and Itasca counties and the forest headquarters is located in Cass Lake.

The Blackduck Ranger District has been working at county fairs in the area and recently the Minnesota State Fair to promote the tree and its ornaments. Ornament contests have been added to the premium books of county fairs and judged just like a baked goods or livestock competition.

Ornaments can still be made for the tree and submitted to Blackduck City Hall or sent to Lynn Dee Stangel of the Chippewa National Forest, 200 Ash Ave. NW, Cass Lake, MN 56633.

Ornaments should be between nine and 12 inches in height and weigh less than a half-pound. They should also be weather resistant.

“It’s a great way to engage kids to make ornaments,” Theune said. “In some cases kids have made ornaments and then they’ve given them back to us which has been super sweet. In other cases kids have asked if they can actually keep the ornament and we’re like ‘totally, yes’ because when they hang that ornament on their tree it’s a reminder of how special this project really is.”

Staff from the district and the city of Blackduck have also been planning an event for when the tree passes through Blackduck on Nov. 4. Plans haven’t been finalized yet, but City Administrator Christina Regas said that an event will take place that morning.

On the tour, the tree will first visit Itasca State Park and then makes stops in Bemidji, Walker and Cass Lake before Blackduck.

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