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U.S. Capitol Christmas tree ornament contest at state fair

CASS LAKE - The Chippewa National Forest reminds Minnesota residents the deadline to enter the 2014 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree ornament contest for the Minnesota State Fair is approaching.

Participants must sign up online through the State Fair by Aug. 6 and ornaments must arrive at the fair by Aug. 17. The ornament contest is part of the year-long events surrounding the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree.

The Chippewa National Forest in northern Minnesota was selected to provide the 2014 U.S. Capitol Tree for Washington, D.C. The forest has been working with communities across the state to create over 10,000 ornaments to decorate the tree when it is put up on the front lawn of the U.S. Capitol building.

"The Minnesota State Fair is the best place to really highlight the talented artists across the state," said Mary Nordeen, public affairs specialist for the Chippewa National Forest. "While the 10,000 ornaments for the big tree are key to our Capitol Christmas Tree events in D.C., we are hoping the State Fair contest ornaments provide the stage to really showcase people's artwork."

Ornaments for the big tree are not returned to Minnesota, while artists who enter the Minnesota State Fair ornament contest have the option of keeping their ornament at the end of the fair or donating it to the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree.

Entry rules for the 2014 US Capitol Christmas Tree Ornament Contest can be found at www.mnstatefair.org. Contest information can be found in the Agriculture/Horitculture/Bee Section of the State Fair Premium book, under Division of Christmas Tree. There is no fee to enter and cash prizes will be awarded to winning entries. There is a Youth Division (under 14) and an Adult Division for the Ornament Contest.

There is a second opportunity for Minnesota artists to showcase their work on a national scale through the Capitol Christmas Tree Art Contest sponsored by Choose Outdoors. Information for that contest can be found through the Call for Entry website at www.callforentry.org.

For more information, check the Chippewa National Forest website at www.fs.usda.gov/chippewa or call the Forest Supervisor's Office at 218-335-8658.