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Blackduck organizations make accessories for Capitol Christmas Tree

All quilted tree skirts that will go to Washington have these patches on them. Photo by Jillian Gandsey. 1 / 4
Blackduck woodcarvers made santas out of driftwood from Red Lake for the 2014 Capitol Christmas tree. Photo by Jillian Gandsey.2 / 4
On the left is an ornament made by the Blackduck Area History and Art Center and on the right are loons made by the Blackduck Senior Center. Both ornaments will hang on the Capitol Christmas Tree. Photo by Jillian Gandsey. 3 / 4
Blackduck quilters made 18 tree skirts to dress the companion trees that will be inside federal buildings in Washington during the holiday season. Photo by Jillian Gandsey.4 / 4

Local organizations have had Christmas on the mind and some even since spring.

The Blackduck woodcarvers, Blackduck Area History and Art Center members, Blackduck Senior Center members, quilters and school groups have all made ornaments for the U.S. Capitol Christmas tree, which will be cut out of the Chippewa National Forest this year.

The local quilters guild met on Monday morning at the Anderson Fabrics Outlet to send off tree skirts that members have made for the companion trees that will be sent with the Capitol Christmas Tree. Those trees are provided by the Minnesota Tree Growers Association and will be inside offices in Washington, such as those belonging to the chief of the Forest Service Office, the United States Department of Agriculture and more.

The quilters made 18 tree skirts, each taking approximately 10 hours. Anderson Fabrics donated the fabric after the Blackduck Ranger District reached out to the group to see if there was any interest in participation.

A group of six to eight woodcarvers created nearly 100 santas in different sizes to send with the Capitol Christmas tree.

“We’d do stages where one would paint the face then one the eyeballs, then cheeks and then the nose and then the mustache,” Rob Stomberg said.

It took roughly an hour to carve each santa out of driftwood that came from the Red Lake area.

The woodcarvers will have a booth at the Holiday Craft Fair, hosted by Blackduck High School athletics, on Nov. 15 at the school, to sell some of the santas as Stomberg said he will be making a few more.

The Blackduck Area History and Art Center also got together to make Minnesota-themed ornaments by painting Lady Slippers onto 10-inch by 10-inch blocks of wood. The History Center’s logo is painted on the backside.

The Blackduck Senior Center created a variety of ornaments to represent Minnesota wildlife, such as a loon, wolf, walleye and pine tree.

Blackduck Elementary School also had classes working on ornaments last spring.  

All ornaments had to be submitted to the Forest Service by Oct. 1 in order to make it onto the tree.

The tree will make a stop in Blackduck on its tour to Washington on Nov. 4. Details have yet to be sorted out, but a morning event is in the planning stages.

It was announced in December that the tree would come from the Chippewa National Forest and the tree was selected this summer. A cutting ceremony is also set for Oct. 29 at an unknown location. The Forest Service was working to determine if it would be safe to have the ceremony where the tree is located in the forest and if not, it will be held in the town nearest to the tree.

Jillian Gandsey

Jillian Gandsey is the Multimedia Editor at the Bemidji Pioneer. She is an Iron Range native and a 2013 graduate of Bemidji State University. Follow Jillian on Twitter and Instagram @jilliangandsey. Contact her at 218-333-9786, 218-996-1216 or at jgandsey@bemidjipioneer.com. 

(218) 333-9786