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Chicagoans and tourists alike are invited to come out and view the Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw, the largest Coast Guard ship on the Great Lakes, as its crew and volunteers unloads 1,200 pine trees onto trucks. This ceremony of the Christmas Tree Ship docking at Navy Pier is a local tradition of the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw and Crew, Ada S. McKinley Community Services, Chicago Christmas Ship Committee, and Chicago Marine Heritage Society.

Once the trees are unloaded, they are distributed throughout the city to families by community nonprofits, coordinated by Ada S. McKinley.

Chicago’s Christmas Tree Ship Ceremony
Saturday, December 4, 2021
10:00 am – 5:00 pm
Navy Pier – 600 E. Grand Avenue (Southwest Wall)
Look for the red and white “Mackinaw” ship located at the Lake Stage at Polk Brothers Park on the southwest wall near the Navy Pier entrance. Paid parking is available at Navy Pier’s indoor parking garage.

10:00 am – Ceremonies begin, including: Performance of National Anthem, Lincoln Way Air Force JROTC Cadets Color Guard, Memorial Wreath Ceremony, including Chicago Fire Department helicopter flyover wreath-laying ceremony on Lake Michigan (weather permitting) honoring crew of the schooner Rouse Simmons

1:30 pm – 5:00 pm – Public is invited to tour the upper deck of the USCGC Mackinaw.

This joyful service to Chicago’s communities continues for the 22nd year with Ada S. McKinley as a leader and collaborator for several years now. View previous news coverage on Channel 9/WGN Chicago and learn more about the wonderful Christmas Tree Ship tradition.