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The White House decorated for Christmas
Photo Sue Harmon
Harmon's Belgians at the White House !
Sue Harmon and Christine Harmon Menard with Karry and Ben
bringing in the 2015 White House Blue Room Christmas Tree.
Coming around the drive up to the White House with the Blue Room Tree.
Sue Harmon and Chris Harmon Menard with Karry and Ben
White House Blue Room Christmas Tree Presentation
Harmon's Hayrides and Carriages was again selected to have their horses bring in the White House Blue Room Christmas Tree this year. On the day after Thanksgiving, Sue Harmon and Christine Harmon Menard guided two of the Harmon's Belgian Draft Horse Geldings up the drive to The White House to present the 18.5 foot Fraser Fir to the Obama's for the Blue Room.
This is Sue's fourth time as part of the Christmas Tree Presentation. Sue who is head of Guidance at Liberty High School in Warrenton, Virginia has driven the tree in twice. Chris drove down from Harwich on Cape Cod to be part of the event this year.
Karry, an eighteen year old Belgian Draft Horse gelding has been part of the team in each of the four times the Harmon's has driven in the Christmas Tree. His partner this year was Ben, a twelve year old Belgian gelding.
The crew was up very early to get the horses up and cleaned in order to the make the drive into DC to arrive at the Security Gate by 8 AM. Sue braided the two geldings in green and red Scotch mane rolls with matching flags standing on the mane. Their tails had Scotch knots with red bows, and sleigh bells circled their centers to add to the festive effect.
The drivers and tree were welcomed by First Lady Michelle Obama, and Jay and Glenn Bustard of Bustard Christmas Trees in Lansdale, Pennsylvania who presented the tree to The White House. The First Lady was accompanied by her dogs, Bo and Sunny.
The Bustands had won the National Christmas Tree Associations National Christmas Tree Contest at its convention in July, 2015 in Spring Grove, IL. As Grand Champion for having the most perfect Christmas Tree they then had the privilege of presenting The White House the tree for the Blue Room. They are the third generation of their family in the business. The family has been raising Christmas trees for over 85 years. They, with their mother, Virginia, have sixty acres of trees and sell nearly 7,000 trees each year. This was their first time entering the National Christmas Tree Association's Tree contest and they were very successful being named Grand Champion.
On September 20th Angela Reid, White House Usher, The White House Superintendent of Grounds Dale Haney and Jim Adams with The National Park Service visited the Bustand's farm to select the tree. On site they had the choice of four trees of the size that would be needed. The fir they selected stood nineteen feet tall and was eleven feet wide. It had been planted in 2001. Since 1966, making this the 50th year, a member of The National Christmas Tree Association has presented the Blue Room tree to The White House.
The wagon that carries the tree was specially made by Oxon Hill Farm part of The National Park Service to carry the very large tree. Oxon Hill and it's very capable staff including Dereke Newman, Oxon Hill's Ground Manager, arranges for the tree to be delivered every year and Supertentendent of Fort Washington and Oxon Hill Farm Park, Christine Smith, and her staff accompanied the tree up the drive to the White House.
Karry and Ben stool quietly during the presentation ceremony until the First lady and The Bustands returned to enter The White House. They were then unhitched by Scott and Sue Harmon and Chris Menard. Scott ground drove the horses back around the White House to the back where the truck and trailer were parked and the wagon and tree had been staged. Then it was reloaded and on to Reston Town Center to give Carriage rides for charity sponsored by the Town Center for all The Black Friday shoppers.
Culmination of a Family Dream
Jack Harmon, the founder of Harmon's Hayrides and Carriages 42 years ago, had always wanted to bring in the Christmas Tree for The White House Blue Room. Sadly he did not live to see his dream come true.
Harmon's Carriages had three teams and Vis-à-vis Carriages at The White House for the Congressional Picnic and the head groundskeeper gave Midge Harmon, Jack's wife, a tour of the grounds on the four wheeler. As they were talking, he mentioned how well behaved the horses were, and would they ever consider bringing in The White House Christmas Tree. It seems that the team that had delivered the tree the year before was not well behaved and they needed one that was used to the public and had been exposed to all the excitement and movement. Naturally the answer was, "Yes, we would love to do the tree arrival."
Their first Christmas at the White House was very emotional for the whole family as they were able to live Jack's dream. That year all the Virginia Harmon's; Scott, Sue, Jenny, Christopher, and Midge were at the event and had a marvelous time watching Scott Harmon drive the tree up to the North Portico completing his father's dream. It was not only being at The White House and doing something of National significance but it was emotionally important to the family.
This year Christine Harmon Menard. Jack's oldest daughter, was able to drive down from Cape Cod to help in the tree delivery, and as Jack was always so important in her life it was a special treat for her.
Click below to view
Past Whitehouse Christmas Tree Deliveries
Sue Harmon and Christine Harmon Menard guide Karry and Ben up the drive to
The White House to present the Blue Room Christmas Tree.
First Lady Michelle Obama and Jay and Glen Bustard of Bustard Christmas Trees
in Lansdale, PA who presented the tree to the White House as the tree arrives
The White House Press Crew at work as Mrs. Obama and Jay and Glenn Bustard,
the tree growers arrive at the tree presentation.
Karry looking at The White House Press Crew as he arrives at the North Portico
Scott Harmon ground drives Karry and Ben back to the truck and trailer
accompanied by Christine Smith, Superintendent
of Fort Washington & Oxon Hill Farm Parks
Meadow Acres Farm
14488 Weeping Willow Lane
Brandy Station, Virginia 22714-2344