North Carolina: Home to the Democratic National Convention and the White House Christmas tree

By Rob Manker, Chicago Tribune reporter

Published August 23, 2012


This year’s White House Christmas tree will come from the same state where President Barack Obama will accept the gift of his party’s nomination next month — North Carolina.

Peak Farms of Jefferson, N.C., has been named this year’s winner in a contest run by the National Christmas Tree Association. As such, it will provide the official White House Christmas tree to be displayed in the Blue Room this holiday season, carrying on a tradition that dates back nearly half a century.

Peak Farms won grand champion honors in the contest this month in Sacramento, Calif., when its blue spruce was chosen over a runner-up Fraser fir. For finishing second, the fir’s grower, Cool Springs Nursery in nearby Banner Elk, N.C., will provide a tree for Vice President Joe Biden and his family.

This will mark the 12th time the White House Christmas tree has come from North Carolina since the Christmas Tree Association began supplying them in 1966. Eight of those have come from Ashe County, N.C., where Peak Farms is located, near the state’s northern border, about 100 miles from the site of the Democratic National Convention to be held Sept. 4-6 in Charlotte.

Obama administration officials will return to the state the following month to select the specific tree that will be displayed at the White House, according to the National Christmas Tree Association. The chosen tree will be at least 18 1/2 feet tall and will be presented to first lady Michelle Obama shortly after Thanksgiving, roughly three weeks after voters decide between her husband and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

Last year’s tree came from the home state of GOP vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan, in Neshkoro, Wis. — between Madison and Wausau — the seventh time that state has provided the tree, tied with Washington for second most.

The National Christmas Tree Association is based in Chesterfield, Mo.