White House Christmas tree selected from local farm

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(WBRE/WYOU) — It’s a Christmas wish come true for one farmer in Northumberland County. Visitors from the White House made a pit stop to one of his farms Tuesday morning to kick off the holiday season.

Staff members from the White House traveled from Washington D.C. Tuesday morning for the White House Christmas Tree selection. Just like trees will soon be decorated in downtown Williamsport, one special tree from northeastern Pennsylvania will also soon be lit up and it comes from Mahantago Valley Farms.

“Everyone tries for this honor but only one a year can attain that honor, that privilege presenting a tree to the White House,” Mahantongo Valley Farms co-owner Larry Snyder said.

‘Tis the season for picking out a Christmas tree. Although Christmas is still a couple months away, it’s never too early to secure the perfect holiday centerpiece. And in this case, the most superb tree has been chosen for the White House.

“When we won the national competition, I was actually speechless and it was just unbelievable. It was just an unbelievable feeling,” Snyder said.

Staff members from the White House, along with the National Christmas Tree Growers Association, made their way through Mahantongo Valley Farms to search for the best standing tree.

“We’re just very excited and honored to be part of Larry Snyder’s big day here and also very excited to have selected a tree and it looks beautiful and stunning,” Timothy Harleth, White House Chief Usher said.

With thousands of trees to choose from, it wasn’t easy.

“You look for something with a great shape since this is in the Blue Room. This is viewed at a 360-degree angle. You want to make sure the tree doesn’t have any holes,” Harleth said.

After growing for 16 years, the tree, 22 feet tall and 12 feet wide, has it all.

“And then you’re just looking for a great color and a nice smell and I think this tree has checked all those boxes,” Harleth said.

Although this tree will soon be decorated with ornaments from across the country, some say it’s more than just a Christmas tree.

“It is the single biggest agricultural promotional activity. It’s a specialty agricultural field and it’s one that connects so closely with consumers at the of its growing season,” Tim O’Connor, executive director of the National Christmas Tree Growers Association, said.

“I think it’s probably one of the highlights of my tree-growing career,” Snyder said.

Snyder and his family will be heading to the White House in November to meet with the First Lady and present the Christmas tree. The Christmas tree will be displayed in the Blue Room at the White House during the holiday season.

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