In 2016 friends, family and community members had thought about how nice it would be to have a Community Crab Basket Tree in Rock Hall, Maryland. At the same time, the Strong/Lingerman and Councell families were thinking of a nice way to remember their sons who had untimely passed away.
Then Rock Hall Mayor Brian Jones presented the idea of the Community Crab Basket Tree to the Strong/Lingerman family who own Chester River Seafood.
The story is below. The intent, meaning and success of the Tree grows every year. In 2016, 88 baskets were placed on one Tree. In 2019, there will be an estimated 250 baskets with 3 trees. Some of the original 88 are being refurbished and new ones are being added. This year Rock Hall Town Manager, Bob Resele, is helping to bring new lighting and illumination.
Sheila Strong Lingerman says the the growth of the tree prompted the families to enlist Jessie Burton of Rock Hall Parks and Recreation and the Kent County High School Arts Department to aid with the process and basket painting. "Jessie has been a Godsend and with the Arts Department involved, we can get all the baskets done. The students will also receive credit for the hours they spend on this project."
Jessie is taking the donations for the Trees and helping to coordinate the efforts. The Arts Department has taken on the job of painting 40 new baskets. Some families are decorating and painting their own baskets.
You still have time to order or make your basket, the deadline is November 21, 2019. All the donations from the Tree go to Rock Hall Parks and Recreation for events for our children.
In order to get a basket for the 2019 Tree, please use the form below :
"Sheila's sister-in-law, Nikki Strong, is owner of the crafting business Shore Goose. With friend Beth Collins Councell, the three came up with a concept to offer memory baskets for sale to decorate the tree with proceeds going to Rock Hall Parks & Recreation. Soon the word spread of the memory baskets, and the basket crew began to paint and decorate 88 baskets. Sheila enlisted her husband, Chris Lingerman, her parents Betty Ann and Buffalo Strong, her brother Jaimie Strong, children Brody and Brianna Pierce and cousins Becky Hill Marshall and Holly Elburn VanDyke to help Nikki with the basket painting. Rock Hall resident and carpenter, Ziggy Carter, was brought on board to help. The construction of the rings and structure that supported the framework and baskets to form the tree was managed and built by Ziggy with help from Kevin Middleton, Troy White and David Olsen. Helping set the tree in place were Bobby Kelley and Robert Strasser. Some people painted and decorated their own baskets. Plain baskets were set to fill the 15 tiered over 25 foot tall tree complete with crab topper constructed by Buffalo Strong. The basket crew and the construction team worked many hours over a 12 day period to make the tree come to life. On Monday, December 12th, the tree was set on the old Rock Hall Inn lot on Main Street. A celebration and lighting took place that evening at 7PM with the volunteers, Town of Rock Hall, Rock Hall Volunteer Fire Company and community. Please visit this special tree over the holidays. Next year, Sheila says that the basket crew hopes to begin baskets in October. Mayor Brian Jones says "The Rock Hall Community Crab Basket Christmas Tree was a great addition to Rock Hall’s Holiday celebration this year, I am so happy that we as a community came together to start a new a tradition that will live on for many years. Our tree is not just an ordinary tree, it is a symbol that allows us to remember and think of those family members and friends who are no longer with us. The ceremony for the lighting was amazing and emotional, it truly reminded us what the Christmas season is all about. I’m extremely grateful for those who assisted with the project and construction. Thank you to those who purchased memorial baskets, not only did they help us craft our tree, they supported our Parks and Recreation Board. 88 baskets were sold during the construction period, for a total of $1,320. The sales from self-designed baskets were $195 and there were $150 in donations from Mike Ashley and Horsey Construction LLC. The tree will remain on display until after the holiday, I hope that everyone has an opportunity to visit it in person.""