From Blue Ridge to Blue Room: Local tree selected for White House display

Rusty Estes and Beau Estes cut down an 18 ½-foot Fraser fir Christmas tree on their farm in Jefferson Wednesday and sent it to the White House. 

The father and son duo won the National Christmas Tree Association Grand Champion Grower award this summer for the third time. Every year since 1966, Christmas tree growers compete for the title to have their tree decorate the Blue Room in the White House.

Dale Haney, White House superintendent of grounds, and James Pinkerton, White House garden supervisor, visited Peak Farms Oct. 20 to select the Christmas tree. Later this month, the Estes will present the tree to First Lady Jill Biden at the White House.

A red, white and blue American flag ribbon placed on the Peak Farms’ award-winning Fraser fir during the tree cutting ceremony. Peak Farms previously received the national honor in 2008 and 2012. (Jesse Barber)
Rusty Estes (left), owner of Peak Farms, looks at the 20-foot-tall Frasier fir bound for the White House as his son Beau Estes operates the tractor to lift the tree. Rusty Estes has worked in the Christmas tree industry since 1979. (Jesse Barber)
Ben Cheek, owner of neighboring Cheek Brothers Tree Farms, operated the chainsaw to cut the Fraser fir during the ceremony Wednesday. (Jesse Barber)
Zack Vogler drives the award-winning tree out of the Peak Farms field location off of Highway 16 to be loaded into an air-controlled trailer for transport to the White House. (Jesse Barber)
Beau Estes operates a skid steer while others help guide the 18 ½-foot-tall Fraser fir bound for the White House. This is the eighth tree from Ashe County sent to the White House since 1971. (Jesse Barber)