around the drive up to the White House with the Blue Room
Sue Harmon and Chris Harmon Menard with Karry and Ben
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.
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
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."
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.
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.
below to view
Past Whitehouse Christmas Tree Deliveries
Christmas Tree Delivery
2008 Christmas Tree Delivery
2007 Christmas Tree Delivery
here to see the article run
on the Southern States web site