Christmas Tree Ship to sail into Ntl. Museum of the Great Lakes

Press Staff Writer

        The National Museum of the Great Lakes, 1701 Front St., will herald in the holidays with the arrival of the Christmas Tree Ship on Saturday, Dec. 4 from 12:45-4 p.m. The event is held in partnership with Geo. Gradel Co.
        This year, the museum chose to move the event to the afternoon to encourage visitors to participate in the neighboring East Toledo Holiday Parade, which will begin at 11 a.m. The parade will travel along East Broadway and Starr Avenue.
Inspired by the original “The Christmas Tree Ship” tale, participants can pre-purchase a live Christmas tree for themselves and/or donate a tree or gift card to a family in need. The museum has partnered with United Way of Greater Toledo and 2-1-1 and are working with East Toledo Family Center, Family House, Lucas County Children’s Services, and Sylvania Area Family Services to distribute trees and holiday support to families in need.
        Trees are $55 each. Gift card donations start at $25.
“On Nov. 23, 1912, the schooner Rouse Simmons sank while carrying Christmas trees,” said Ellen Kennedy, the museum’s Director of Education and Visitor Experience. “Known as the Christmas Tree Ship, her captain, lovingly referred to as ‘Captain Santa,’ was remembered for giving trees to families in need.”
        Spectators can see Santa Claus and a boatload of Christmas trees navigate the Maumee River via Facebook Live and then watch in-person as the decorated tugboat docks behind the National Museum of the Great Lakes. Once at the museum, Santa will take his place for the remainder of the day atop the deck of the Museum Tug Ohio, where children can share their Christmas wishes from afar to Santa via the Great Lakes tradition of “Mail by the Pail” delivery.
        The Facebook Live stream will begin at 12:45 p.m. with the ship arrival at approximately 1 p.m.
        Admission to the museum exhibits will be free for all who purchase a tree, donate a tree or donate toward a gift card. Outdoor event activities are free and don’t require museum admission.
        To learn more about the event, purchase a tree or make a donation, visit or call 419-214-5000.
        Those interested in learning more about receiving a donated tree are encouraged to call 2-1-1, United Way’s community service helpline.


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