Thursday, December 07, 2006

Seniors' Ornaments Decorate Tree

On December 6, 2006, the PA Department of Aging announced those Senior Centers in the Commonwealth that donated ornaments in response to the Department's invitation issued on October 25, 2006, to decorate the Christmas Tree in the Capitol. I noted the Department's annual invitation in a prior posting, Ornament (not Organ) Donations Sought.

In the Press Release entitled "
PA Senior Centers Donate Handcrafted Ornaments for Commonwealth Christmas Tree", found online here, the Secretary of Aging, Nora Dowd Eisenhower, expressed her appreciation to participating members of those senior centers.

"Each year we get a delightful array of ornaments that showcase the talent and creativity of Pennsylvania's older adults," said Eisenhower. "Many centers send letters along with the ornaments, mentioning how proud they are to contribute to the tree."

This year, 65 centers donated decorations that resulted in nearly 500 ornaments being displayed on the tree that will stand in the Capitol Rotunda through early January.
A tree lighting ceremony, hosted by Governor Edward G. Rendell, will occur at noon on Monday, Dec. 11, 2006, in the Capitol Rotunda, Harrisburg.

For the first time in its publicity regarding this annual project, the Department listed the names and locations of each of the 65 Senior Centers from which the ornaments originated this year. Check out the list
here in that Press Release.

The Commonwealth's Christmas Tree is not the only one in the news recently. A Pennsylvania tree grower has the honor of supplying the Holiday Tree in the White House in 2006.

The National Christmas Tree Growers Association announced the honor to the Commonwealth, the Pennsylvania Christmas Tree Growers Association, and the supplier, Crystal Spring Tree Farm, on October 18, 2006, in a Press Release found here:
A beautiful 18 ½ foot tall Douglas-fir tree from Pennsylvania will be the Official White House Christmas Tree this season. The Blue Room Christmas Tree will be officially presented to First Lady Laura Bush by Francis, Margaret and Chris Botek of Crystal Spring Tree Farm in Lehighton, Pa. The Boteks earned this honor by winning the National Christmas Tree Association’s (NCTA) national Christmas Tree contest held in August 2006 in Portland, Ore., and becoming Grand Champions.

“The last time a Christmas Tree from Pennsylvania was displayed in the White House was in 2001,” Gary Walters said. “This beautiful Douglas-fir from the Botek family is the perfect tree to continue this long-standing White House tradition.” * * *

Mr. Botek was a first-place winner in the Pennsylvania Christmas Tree Grower’s Association tree contest in Harrisburg, Penn., in January 2006. That regional victory qualified him for the chance to compete at the national level in Portland, Ore., Aug. 16-19, 2006. And the rest, as they say, is history.

The presentation of the tree to the White House occurred on Nov. 27, 2006. The Christmas tree from Pennsylvania now stands in the Blue Room, as decorated by the White House Floral Department staff and volunteers.

The 2006 White House Holiday website, "Deck the Hall and Welcome All!" features the decorated tree from Pennsylvania