Local Workers Plan Patriotic Lighting For National Tree

EAST CLEVELAND, Ohio (AP) - The National Christmas Tree will have a patriotic feel, with revised decorations.

Kathy Presciano has scrambled to infuse the tree in Washington, D.C., with a more patriotic glow. The lighting designer for GE Lighting had been working since spring on a plan based on traditional holiday colors, lots of reds, greens and golds.

After Sept. 11, she and Christmas Pageant of Peace, the nonprofit group that sponsors the annual tree-lighting ceremony, decided on a patriotic look for the 48-foot Colorado blue spruce on the Ellipse between the White House and the Washington Monument.

"They felt a patriotic design was appropriate in light of the changed atmosphere in the country," said Presciano, of Cleveland, who is in her seventh year of designing the national tree.

Minutes after the group made its decision, Presciano was on the phone ordering strings of red, white and blue lights -- 100,000 bulbs in all -- to replace those now stored in a warehouse in Maryland.

Then, working at her office in East Cleveland, she created a new design -- including the new lights, fluffy red garland and 100 sparkling star ornaments.

"It's a simple, classic design," Presciano said. "I did not want it to look like a flag."

She said she completed the work in two days so that a Cleveland supplier, the Brilliant Electric Sign Co., could begin producing the ornaments.

President Bush will flip the switch to light the tree on Dec. 6.

The event will mark the 39th consecutive year that GE Lighting has donated the design, lighting and decorations for the tree.

(Copyright 2001 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)