White House Christmas Tree: 2006
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White House Selects Blue Room Christmas Tree

ST. LOUIS - (October 18, 2006) -- A beautiful 18 ½ foot tall Douglas-fir tree from Pennsylvania will be the Official White House Christmas Tree this season.

The Blue Room Christmas Tree will be officially presented to First Lady Laura Bush by Francis, Margaret and Chris Botek of Crystal Spring Tree Farm in Lehighton, Pa. The Boteks earned this honor by winning the National Christmas Tree Association's (NCTA) national Christmas Tree contest held in August 2006 in Portland, Ore., and becoming Grand Champions.

The Blue Room Christmas Tree was handpicked by White House Chief Usher Gary Walters, Superintendent of Grounds Irv Williams and Grounds Foreman Mike Lawn on October 18. The tree will be cut in late November and sent to Washington, D.C. The White House staff also selected two beautiful Real Christmas Trees for the White House Oval Office and the Bush family's private residence.

"The last time a Christmas Tree from Pennsylvania was displayed in the White House was in 2001," Gary Walters said. "This beautiful Douglas-fir from the Botek family is the perfect tree to continue this long-standing White House tradition."

Mr. Botek was a first-place winner in the Pennsylvania Christmas Tree Grower's Association tree contest in Harrisburg, Penn., in January 2006. That regional victory qualified him for the chance to compete at the national level in Portland, Ore., Aug. 16-19, 2006. And the rest, as they say, is history.

"One tree farm in the whole country gets to do this a year and this year it's us and we're just going to enjoy the moment," Chris Botek said. "I don't think there is a higher pinnacle that a person could reach in tree farming than what happened with us," said Francis Botek of Crystal Spring Tree Farm.

Crystal Spring Tree Farm is a family-run operation located in the foothills of the Pocono Mountains. Started in 1964, the farm has grown to more than 200 acres and produces approximately 15 species of trees. Over the years, the farm has supplied Real Christmas Trees for display in Rockefeller Center in New York City and the Pennsylvania state capitol in Harrisburg. The farm offers Choose & Cut Christmas Trees, as well as wholesale trees and wreaths.

The presentation to the White House is currently scheduled to take place on Nov. 27, 2006. The tree will be set up in the Blue Room later that day, where the White House Floral Department staff and volunteers will decorate it.

Members of the National Christmas Tree Association have presented the official White House Christmas Tree for display in the Blue Room since 1966. For Real Christmas Tree selection and care tips, or to find a Christmas Tree farm or lot in your area, visit www.realchristmastrees.org.

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