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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 30, 2015

Shelly Angers, N.H. Department of Cultural Resources
(603) 271-3136
Twitter: @NHCulture

NOTE: Images of the ornaments and a group photo of the ornament makers are available online.

NH Special Olympians create ornaments for National Christmas tree display in Washington, DC

Special Olympians from the Berlin, N.H., area have created ornaments for New Hampshire’s tree that will be part of the National Christmas Tree display at President’s Park outside the White House in Washington, D.C. this December.

The Androscoggin River Athletes of the Special Olympics—New Hampshire worked with sculptor and painter Andre Belanger and several artist assistants to craft a dozen New Hampshire-inspired ornaments that include images of gifts, snowmen, winter landscapes and snow – lots and lots of snow.

“Before we started making the ornaments, we discussed the beauty found in northern New Hampshire and how it makes us feel to live in such a lovely part of the world,” said Belanger. “The ornaments capture the spirit of our state as seen through the hearts of the Olympians who breathe New Hampshire’s crisp winter air.”

“The collaboration between the Androscoggin River Athletes of the Special Olympics and artist Andre Belanger represents the ‘all-hands-on-deck’ spirit of our people,” said Governor Maggie Hassan. “These ornaments demonstrate the beauty of New Hampshire’s winter landscape and make citizens across the state proud to call the Granite State home.”

The 93rd annual National Christmas Tree Lighting will take place on Dec. 3, 2015 at 4:30 p.m. New Hampshire’s tree will be one of 56 trees – representing each U.S. state, territory and the District of Columbia – that will surround the National Christmas Tree.

In 1856, New Hampshire’s Franklin Pierce, fourteenth president of the United States, became the first president to place a Christmas tree in the White House.

The National Christmas Tree Lighting began on Christmas Eve in 1923, when President Calvin Coolidge lit a Christmas tree in front of 3,000 spectators on the Ellipse. Since then, each succeeding President has carried on the tradition. In addition to the display, President’s Park hosts a variety of family-oriented holiday attractions, including nightly performances and a model train display.

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