Amanda Johnson Havre Daily News email@example.com
Havre residents greeted the Capitol Christmas tree on Friday, during its scheduled tour stop, with food, music, laughter and an overall sense of community joy. Residents enjoyed chili by the Chamber Ambassadors, cookies by 4-H, water offered by Salvation Army and apple cider provided by the Hi-Line Board of Realtors. The St. Jude’s children’s choir sang an array of holiday songs from “Jingle Bells” to “We Wish You a Merry Christmas," and Jack Gladstone sang his original song “Heart of Montana,” which he wrote in honor of the Capitol Tree. “Jack Gladstone’s song is so cool, you just don’t get tired of listening to it. The song is very,very special,” said Debbie Vanderberg, executive director of the Havre Area Chamber of Commerce. "We have a great crowd; there were a lot of people. This is a lifetime opportunity; it’s a really great thing for the kids that came down. A little bit of history was made today in town square." Adults and children climbed the steps to the trailer holding the 77-foot-long fir to get a peek through a window inside. “This is the best tree I’ve ever seen,” said four-yearold Isaiah Bergren. “It has lots of pine cones and lights." Just before leaving the small boy asked “Just one more smell grandma before we leave?” Emily Parham said, “The tree is really cool." “I think the tree is really cool, it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity for Havre,” said Linda Briese. Members of the Bitterroot National Forest Service were traveling from town to town across Montana with The tree on its journey to Washington, D.C. “Havre is our eighth stop on the tree’s tour to Washington, D.C., said Lisa Fisher patrol commander of the Northern Regions Forest Service. “We’ve had a great turn-out in all the communities. The people have all been wonderful. We’ve had some really outstanding service from local law enforcement agencies with the escorts and security services along the way through Montana. Even on short notice law enforcement has really stepped forward, we’re very appreciative.” The day of the trees arrival in Havre marked seven days since its harvest. "And day four that we’ve been on the road,” said Nan Christianson, Christmas Tree coordinator for the Bitter Root National Forest. "The response to this tree has been overwhelming. It seems to bring out the best energy in everybody and we’re just having a blast. We’ve had a great turn-out in all the communities. Nearly everybody is signing (the banners on both sides of the trailer) and everybody likes to stick their nose in the trailer to get a smell of the tree and to get a look at it. "This tree, it’s amazing the pride it’s brought out in Montanans,” she added. 4-H’er Chris Gabrielsen, who won the trip to Washington, D.C., and will represent Havre while helping House Speaker Nancy Pelosi light the Capitol Christmas Tree was an honored guest at Friday's event. “I’m really excited for my brother (Chris Gabrielsen), going to light the tree should be a lot of fun for him," said Nikki Gabrielsen. "The tree is really big, and it smells really good." Chris' sister Randi said “The tree is huge and it smells really good. I’m very happy for my brother and I wi sh I could go ( to Washington, D.C., with him).” Chris's grandfather, Dennis Bymaster, added “I think this tree coming here is great, it’s really something. There’s a good crowd. I’m really excited for the kids (Chris and Kane Gabrielsen). It’s really neat that this happened. Chris is a good kid and it’s good that something like this happened. Everybody has been really great." His grandmother, Gladys Bymaster added. “I feel very fortunate that our grandson was chosen for this wonderful opportunity. The tree is probably the biggest tree I’ve ever seen, and it smells so good. I know they’re going to have a wonderful time out in Washington, D.C. I would like to thank everybody for allowing him this opportunity." People who want to watch the Capitol tree make its way across the United States to Washington, D.C., can log onto www.trackthetree. com. The lighting of Montana’s Capitol Christmas tree will be on Tuesday, Dec.2. For more information about the tree and its history and informat ion about the Capi tol Christmas Tree Program visit www.capitolchristmastree2008. org. People interested in downloading Jack Gladstone’s song “Heart of Montana” can visit: web.mac.com/ckayak2/ iweb/jackgladstone/podcast/podcast.html. (A free version of QuickTime may need to be downloaded in order to listen to the song).