Massachusetts florists help to decorate White House

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (AP) — David DellaTorre describes himself and his wife, Rebecca, as “laborers hanging ornaments.”

But oh, what a place to labor. The DellaTorres, part of the family that’s run Springfield Florists Supply since 1927, were volunteers on the crew that helped decorate the White House for this year’s holiday season. The decorations were revealed to the public Monday.

“It’s a great tradition we wanted to be a part of. Oh yeah, it was special to feel free to roam, to look at the artwork,” said DellaTorre, who lives in South Hadley. “Just to work in a room and take it all in. I’m sure this is a better experience than you would have just walking past on a tour.”

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He and Rebecca attended a reception hosted by First Lady Melania Trump Monday afternoon.

Springfield Florists Supply did not supply flowers or other decorations, DellaTorre said.

“But I’m sure that the family business is one reason we were selected,” he said. “We wrote on the application about my grandparents founding the business and about how we are the third generation.”

The DellaTorres applied for the volunteer opportunity through the White House website, and drove to Washington on Thanksgiving and worked Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

The volunteers were divided up into five teams and put to work on the White House’s 55 different Christmas trees. One long hallway alone had 35 trees.

Volunteers were not allowed to take photos during the decorating process, he said. All that behind-the-scenes material is exclusive to HGTV, which filmed the work for a special.

According to the White House, the building will host more than 100 open houses in the month of December. More than 25,000 visitors will take public tours through the decorations.

The theme of this year’s decor is “Time-Honored Traditions,” the White House said.

Displays include a “Gold Star Family Tree” in the East Wing, a gingerbread house in the State Dining Room depicting the famous White House facade, and a Christmas dinner theme in the China Room featuring President Ronald Reagan’s china.

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Online: http://bit.ly/2zLpvja

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Information from: The Springfield (Mass.) Republican, http://www.masslive.com/news/

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