North Carolina tree takes place of honor at White House

Posted November 14, 2018 12:14 p.m. EST
Updated November 19, 2018 1:20 p.m. EST

— A North Carolina Christmas tree arrived Monday in Washington, D.C., where it will be the center of an elaborate holiday celebration in the White House after its grower abandoned it because "it wasn't doing well."

Grower Larry Smith told a Charlotte newspaper that the tree wasn't doing as well as the others and he hadn't trimmed it in years, but that did not stop White House officials from taking a liking to the natural look of the tree.

White House officials picked the tree in September from Smith's farm, Mountain Top Fraser in Newland.

White House officials chose his farm as this year's tree provider after Smith won the National Christmas Tree Contest.

The tree was harvested last Wednesday and was delivered to the White House on a horse-drawn carriage, Smith said.

He said this was his fifth time participating in the national contest, and he reached the finals three of those times.

Smith made it to the winner's circle this year. He said finding the perfect tree to submit to the contest took some time.

"We looked over our whole farm," he said. "We're looking for the perfect tree."

According to Smith, competition judges rank trees based on their fullness and height.

"You want a tree that is as close to 8 feet as possible," he said.

The tree that was ultimately selected by the White House surpassed expectations because it was 19½ feet tall.

The tree will be on display in the White House's Blue Room  through the holiday season.

Smith will also have the opportunity to visit the White House during the lighting of the National Christmas Tree which will occur on the White House lawn on Nov. 29.