Christmas Tree Will Have Elkton Theme

ELKTON — Donna Mowbray, leader of the Centennial Jubilee Committee’s Christmas tree ornament project, began thinking about ways to celebrate the town’s 100th birthday, and jotting down ideas, months ago.

Watching a segment of a home and garden show one day, Mowbray saw people making decorations for their state Christmas tree for the White House ellipse — the area directly south of the White House where every state in the union has a Christmas tree under its own name with state-made decorations.

Mowbray saw an opportunity. Why not have the Virginia state tree decorated by Elkton, in honor of the town’s centennial?

A call to the National Park Service and an explanation about the Centennial Jubilee won a sympathetic hearing.

“I told the Park Service lady about our events, and she took our name. When I talked to her again in February we had won the assignment,” Mowbray said.

The Centennial Steering Committee voted in favor of the project last spring, and Mowbray and her informal group have received, signed, and returned a contract to create the decorations.

“We will make them here and send them in December to the White House. The staff there will actually decorate the tree,” she said.

Each bauble will be made of two transparent hemispheres, into which a hand-made decoration will be placed and the two hemispheres then joined together into a single ornament. The decorations will be representative of Elkton and its history. As plans stand now, ten will contain small patches of hand-made quilting, stitched by Linda and Pam Monger.

Five will contain small horseshoes, symbolic of the Knights of the Golden Horseshoe, Gov. Spotswood’s troupe that first crossed the Blue Ridge. These are being made by Anthony Diorio of Mount Solon. Diorio’s Harrisonburg company already makes slightly smaller miniature horseshoes for students graduating from Elkton Elementary School.

Rhonda Meredith is making stained-glass interiors for five ornaments. Other ornaments are expected to include pictures of the Shenandoah River, the Valley, the Blue Ridge Mountains and other local scenes. Some will include the Centennial logo, Stonewall Jackson, and an Elk head.

A total of 51 ornaments will be made.

“From these, the First Lady (Laura Bush) selects one for the tree inside the White House,” Mowbray explained.

The ornaments will be placed on display at the Centennial Jubilee headquarters, at 306 W. Old Spotswood Trail, before they are sent to the White House on Dec. 4. Government staff will do the actual tree decoration for Virginia, as it does for all the state trees.

Several of Mowbray’s group are looking into the possibility of chartering a bus, or buses, in December to take interested persons to Washington to see the trees on the ellipse.

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