Christmas tree ship docks in Chicago - KMSP-TV

Christmas tree ship docks in Chicago

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

A special delivery was made Friday morning to the lakeshore. The Christmas tree ship made its way to Navy Pier.

The Coast Guard cutter Mackinaw left its home port in Sheboygan, Michigan to deliver over 1,300 trees to needy families in Chicago.

Chief Alan Harris joined Good Day Chicago Friday where he talked about the tradition of the Christmas ship.

"Tradition goes back late 1800s, early 1900s when the original Christmas ship brought trees and wreaths from Michigan to the people of Chicago, donating them to deserving people," Harris said.

"In 1912 on its trip down Lake Michigan ran into a heavy storm off Two Rivers, Wisconsin, and sank and the crew of 16 was lost. In the year 2000, the Chicago maritime community partnered with the Coast Guard, the Coast Guard partnered with the Chicago Christmas ship to bring that tradition back."

Saturday, there will be a public ceremony where the trees will be off-loaded and then donated to deserving families, pre-arranged by the Christmas tree committee.

Over 16,000 trees have been donated to needy families through the charity.

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