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Blue Room Christmas Tree Presented to First Lady Michelle Obama
Chesterfield, MO (November 26, 2010) -- A beautiful Douglas-fir from Lehighton, Pa., was presented to the First Lady in a ceremony at the North Portico today. It will be the official White House Christmas Tree for 2010.
The Blue Room Christmas Tree was officially presented to First Lady Michelle Obama by Christmas Tree farmer Christopher Botek and his family. Botek earned this honor by winning the National Christmas Tree Association's (NCTA) national Christmas Tree contest held in August 2010 in Winston-Salem, N.C., and becoming Grand Champion.
The Blue Room Christmas Tree was handpicked by Director of the Executive Residence and White House Chief Usher Stephen Rochon and Superintendent of Grounds Dale Haney on Sept. 28, 2010.
"It's an honor to represent Christmas Tree farmers throughout America as we present this fresh tree from our farm to the First Lady," said Botek, about the White House tree presentation. "The White House deserves the best quality tree, and we believe that a tree grown right here on an American farm can represent the nation well."
Botek's champion pedigree is a proverbial pine cone that didn't fall far from the tree, as his parents Francis and Margaret Botek were Grand Champions in 2006 and presented the White House Christmas Tree to Laura Bush. "It's definitely a source of family pride now that I have won the contest too," said Botek. "I was very proud of my parents in 2006 and I'm sure they're ecstatic for me. It's such an honor for us tree farmers."
"Winning Grand Champion status is very difficult and represents the pinnacle of Christmas Tree farming," said Richard Moore, president of the National Christmas Tree Association. Moore also attended the ceremony on behalf of the farmers and retailers of natural Christmas trees. "Each farm that wins and provides the official White House Christmas Tree is proud to represent our entire industry."
The First Lady and her daughters Malia and Sasha greeted the farmers and their families while the tree made its way to the front of the portico. The first family looked the tree over and gave it an enthusiastic thumbs up. Mrs. Obama exclaimed, "We'll take it!" and wished all "Happy Holidays!"
Members of the National Christmas Tree Association have presented the official White House Christmas Tree for display in the Blue Room since 1966.