WASHINGTON, D.C.- Early this morning, cranes hoisted crew members from the U.S. Capitol Architect’s office into the air. The crew worked to place thousands of ornaments, each one handmade in Montana, on the Capitol Christmas Tree.
“They all look pretty good on the tree,” said crew leader Buddy Paddy. High on top sits a five-foot-tall star made in Belgrade. Paddy says it was the most difficult decoration to add to the tree this year.
“This star weighed 80 pounds, so we got a little help from a higher power,” Paddy said. “Actually, a lift that was higher than our life.
Maureen McElroy said there was a “little bit of nervousness” about getting the lofty decorations up. McElroy is the operations director for Choose Outdoors, the nonprofit group that works in conjunction with the U.S. Forest Service to take the tree from its forest to the front lawn of the Capitol.
She nicknamed the tree Elaine the Engelmann Spruce. "Fortunately, Elaine has a split trunk. So they were able to position the star, tether her down in between the trunks, wrap it, and then the creator of the star had created bolts, so there are cable lines to stabilize her,” McElroy said.
Next, the crew will lay down the tree skirt. “It should be going on right before the lighting. I think they're going to let the rain pass tonight."
Paddy said on Dec. 6, they’ll set out all the chairs, VIP area and roll out the red carpet before the big lighting ceremony. Almost 300 people are expected to attend.
“Just thank Montana for a beautiful tree,” Paddy said.