Christmas Tree Ship Prepares for Chicago

November 22, 2006 Chicago, IL – On December 1st at 8:00 a.m., Chicago’s historic Christmas Tree Ship will arrive at Navy Pier for the 6th year under the name Mackinaw, but with a different silhouette.

USCGC Mackinaw (WLBB-30) is carrying on the Christmas Tree Ship tradition resurrected by her predecessor Mackinaw (WAGB-83) in 2000, and will deliver 1,000 trees to Chicago this year. The trees were purchased by the Chicago’s Christmas Ship organization from farms in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and the Cheboygan area and will be given to needy Chicago families.

Loaded onto the ship by Ogema Heights Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps members, Mackinaw crew and crew family members on November 22nd, the trees will be sharing deck space with buoys as the buoy-tender will be decommissioning lighted aids and replacing them with winter marks on the voyage to and from Chicago.

The Christmas Tree event on Navy Pier will invite school children aboard for tours and classes with nautical and historical themes and will culminate with the Grand Tree Unloading Ceremony on December 2nd. The ship will be open for public tours on Dec. 2 and Dec. 3, 2006 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Mackinaw will retain 50 trees for the historic transit back to Cheboygan. These trees will be donated to Coast Guard families in the area.

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