AVERY COUNTY, NC (FOX 46 WJZY) - An Avery County Christmas tree will be decorated for all to see this holiday season. When it comes to trees they say beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
Larry Smith has a good eye. He’s been growing Christmas trees for decades on his Newland farm. The trees he grows stand tall and proud but not as proud as he is.
The tree going to the White House has somewhat of a Cinderella story.
The process started in 2015 when Smith won a state competition. He took a tree to the Capitol Rotunda in Raleigh. Winning that title meant he got to advance to the next competition in 2017 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. He picked the right tree that year because the one he put on display earned him the title of National Christmas Tree Grand Champion Grower.
“It’s kind of like winning the Super Bowl. It’s a lot of hard work,” said Smith.
His hard work is paying off. Staffers from the White House made the trip to his farm to personally pick a tree for the Blue Room.
Before they arrived, Smith set out to pick out 20 of the best trees. The tree needed to be 19.5 feet and between 12 and 14 feet wide.
The White House went on to pick an unlikely underdog on the farm.
“It was sort of abandoned. I think of it as a Cinderella tree and then it ended with the ultimate, well it’s getting to go to the big ball,” Smith said while smiling.
Smith says he thinks they liked its natural shape and thinks they will be able to hang a lot of ornaments on the tree once it’s inside.
“It’s all in the eye of the beholder,” said Smith.
Now the tree will get its shining moment and a shiny star in the nation’s capital.
Smith will harvest between 2,500 and 3,000 trees that will be sold in the Lenoir and Hickory area this holiday season.
The tree going to Washington, D.C. will be cut down during a ceremony on November 14. The tree will arrive at the White House on November 19. Smith plans to take his family to D.C. to see his tree in all its glory.
“I think it’s something we can look back and have a lot of fond memories,” he said.
This was Smith’s fifth time trying to win at the National Christmas Tree Growers Association competition. It seems like the fifth time is the charm.