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Celebrating U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree Day in Blackduck

Hundreds of students and Blackduck community members surrounded the Capitol Chirstmas Tree on Tuesday to get their signature on the truck. Photo by Jillian Gandsey. 1 / 2
Marie Crawford, in the ninth grade, climbed a ladder to sign her name at the top of the truck on Tuesday. Photo by Jillian Gandsey. 2 / 2

November 4, 2014 won’t just be known as an Election Day in Blackduck anymore.

Mayor Daryl Lundberg proclaimed the day “U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree Day” in the city of Blackduck during a ceremony on Tuesday morning outside of Blackduck High School.

The 88-foot White Spruce rolled into town from its previous stops, Walker and Cass Lake, on Monday night, which required Police Chief John Wilkinson to be on the clock overnight for security.

Blackduck was the tree’s fifth stop after being harvested out of the Chippewa National Forest on Oct. 29 in a cutting ceremony and heading to Bemidji State University to be prepared for its 2,000 mile journey. It then began its tour, stopping in Itasca State Park and Bemidji on Sunday, Nov. 2 then Walker and Cass Lake on Monday, Nov. 3.

The tree making a stop in Blackduck was not only fitting since the city lies on the forest’s edge but also well-earned.

Many school groups including cub scouts, the high school shop class, elementary students and community organizations including the Blackduck woodcarvers, quilting group, senior center and the Blackduck Area History and Art Center have made ornaments or accessories for the tree.

Brian Tritle, the Blackduck District Ranger for the Forest Service, said that the amount of community support awakened him to the purpose and meaning of the Capitol Christmas Tree.

“This tree is a monument representing the pride and love that you all have for your communities, your livelihoods and your forests in northern Minnesota, and I salute you all for your efforts with the Capitol Christmas Tree, and I thank you for making this such a great place to work and live,” Tritle said on Tuesday.

The Blackduck FFA was also heavily involved as they helped to choose a tree that was almost used as the Capitol Christmas Tree. The FFA also helped set up and greeted visitors at the tree-cutting ceremony last week.

“If you’re a student here at Blackduck School, you take a lot of pride in being part of the school and part of the community and to have a chance to send off some goodwill, a tree from your own backyard,” Mark Friesen, FFA advisor said on Tuesday. “The Chippewa National Forest is an amazing thing.”

Community members, elementary and high school students took turns signing the truck that held the tree while it was parked on First Street outside the school. The high school band also played holiday songs and elementary students sang a song.

The Blackduck Ranger District and the city of Blackduck exchanged gifts toward the end of the event. Mayor Lundberg gave the Ranger District a wooden plaque and in return received a tree that will be placed in downtown Blackduck during the holidays.

The proclamation that Lundberg read said, “The Chippewa National Forest and the City of Blackduck have a long-standing history of cooperation dating at least as early as the acquisition of the “North Purchase Unit” that expanded the National Forest Boundary into the Blackduck area in 1934. Likewise the City of Blackduck has been a welcoming community for the National Forest and has worked in partnership with the Forest offering many ideas, community support and invaluable perspectives on working together to best manage our natural and cultural resources now and into the future.”

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