Members of the White House Staff visited River Ridge Tree Farm in Ashe County, North Carolina today to select the tree that will be the focal point of the White House decorations this year. But the road to the White House began many years ago for partners Jessie Davis and Rusty Estes. Davis has been planting Christmas trees since high school, and Estes got into the business in 1979.
And the tree itself has waited may years to acheive greatness. The 20-foot Fraser fir was planted some 20 years ago, and stand among 40 or so magnificent peers.
Admiral Steve Rochon, Director of the Executive Residence and Chief Usher of the White House said that the selection was particularly difficult this year because there were so many beautiful trees to choose from. The Blue Room Christmas Tree has to be a minimum of 18 ½ feet tall, so it will reach from floor to ceiling. Most Christmas Trees are harvested long before they reach that height, but Davis and Estes had a number of perfect trees to fit the bill.
The tree selected edged out the competition because it had lots of lush, thick foliage, a deep green color, and strong branches to hold the heavy ornaments that the White House will use this year. The decorating theme for the White House is a closely held secret each year, but because of the size of the tree, it’s not unusual for many of the ornaments to be 8 inches or more in diameter, with some being much heavier than most people use in their homes.
Davis and Estes won the honor of providing this special tree to the White House by winning the National Christmas Tree contest in August. In order to qualify to enter that competition, they had to win the North Carolina Christmas Tree Associations Tree contest last year. At the national level, the tree from River Ridge Tree Farm was judged the best of show by both fellow tree growers and consumers.
Davis and Estes will present the tree to Mrs. Bush in a ceremony at the White House on November 30 at 3 pm Eastern. Check back for updates on the tree and the family!
Thanks to everyone that covered or watched this story, which ran in 19 States that we know of (Alabama, California, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Minnesota, North Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Nebraska, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin) plus the District of Columbia. The Nielsen Audience for this story topped 2.9 million viewers!