The 79-foot-tall Engelmann Spruce tree from Montana's Kootenai National Forest that will grace the lawn of the U.S. Capitol arrived at its destination in Washington D.C. on Monday.
The tree will be lit in a ceremony on Dec. 6 by 11-year-old Ridley Brandmayr of Bozeman, but there's even more Montana involved in this year's holiday celebration: Shawna Crawford of Lewistown was one of the many Montanans chosen to make a tree skirt for the tree.
She says she was not shocked, but instead thought it was the perfect job: “I can take an idea and go with it, run with it and make something. So it makes sense for me to do this.”
She wanted to show how Montana relates to her and Lewistown by stitching wildlife and wheat onto the skirt.
“I thought about the animals and the wildlife. And then I started thinking about Lewistown and what actually drives the economic industry in Lewistown. What actually drives commerce in Lewistown - it's agriculture. It’s a very agriculture-based community,” she said.
So Crawford brainstormed ways that she could physically put Montana in the skirt. That is when livestock markers came into play. She painted the perimeter of the skirt with livestock markers. She completed the quilt in just three days.
“I felt pretty proud of it, I did it came out pretty good,” Crawford said. Crawford stitched her name and address on the back of the skirt, including a story about her life in Montana.
Tara Shane Estes told MTN News that there are many quilt guilds and others who contributed hand-made tree skirts to grace the trees at the Capitol -- 74 total. She says that her mother is one of them, along with two others from Quilt Away in Great Falls.
More than 3,000 ornaments collected across Montana will also be hung on the tree.
To finish it all off, a five-foot-tall copper star funded by Washington Companies of Missoula, fabricated by Split Mountain Metal of Belgrade, and lighted by Western Montana lighting of Missoula will top the tree.
The last time a Montana tree was chosen was in 2008 - a Sub-Alpine Fir from the Bitterroot Forest.