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Jonesborough ornament gets promoted to residential tree

Liz Bushong’s second year decorating the White House was made extra special after she learned an ornament from the Town of Jonesborough would be among the decorations going up at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
The ornament, which showcases the downtown area of Jonesborough while shining a spotlight on the town’s title as the Storytelling Capital of the World, was selected to hang on the White House’s official Christmas tree in the Blue Room of the residence.
But, according to Bushong, the ornament received a promotion upon its arrival in the nation’s capital.
“I took a copy of the (Herald & Tribune) with the picture of the ornament on the front and I showed all the decorators and event architects,” Bushong said. “I told them I was looking for it and I had to get a picture of it hanging on the tree to bring back to Jonesborough.”
Bushong and her fellow decorators looked for the ornament at the warehouse where decorations were being stored, but couldn’t find it anywhere.
“We were in the White House when I found it. It was the strangest thing,” she said. “I was cleaning up a table and there was a little black box sitting there. I opened it and it was the ornament. It was really wild.”
Bushong said she brought the ornament to an event architect and asked what she should do with it.
“They told me to bring it to the Blue Room to be put on the tree,” Bushong said. “But when I got in there, they had changed the format of what was being done on that tree.”
Originally, the tree was reportedly supposed to take on a travel theme, featuring ornaments from unique travel spots throughout the country, including Jonesborough. At some point, though, the theme changed to focus on county and state fairs.
Seeing that the Jonesborough ornament didn’t quite fit the new theme, decorators decided it should go on a different tree in the White House.
“They promoted the Jonesborough ornament to a tree in the private residence area, which is in the West Wing,” Bushong said.
Since the private residence area of the White House is not on display to the public, Bushong wasn’t allowed to take a photograph of the ornament on the tree. And while the public coming through to see the holiday décor won’t be able to see the ornament, Bushong said plenty of people now know all about Tennessee’s Oldest Town.
“I told everybody about Jonesborough,” Bushong said. “It was great.”
Following the announcement last month that the ornament was headed to the White House, the Jonesborough Visitors Center sold out of it. The town has since received an additional shipment to accommodate the more than 150 people that were on a waiting list for the ornament.
According to Jonesborough Tourism Director Alicia Phelps, plenty more are now available for purchase. The ornament is priced at $15.95.