White House Staff to Choose Washington Tree This Weekend

“White House staff members Gary Walters and Irv Williams are scheduled to pay a visit to Washington this Saturday, October 30 to make the final selection for the 1999 White House Christmas tree.National Tree Contest champions Ed and Cindy Hedlund of Hedlund Christmas Trees, in Elma, have earned the honor of presenting the tree to First Lady Hillary Clinton in December.The Hedlunds have selected several trees approximately 18 feet tall as potential finalists. The White House staff will have input on which tree will ultimately be selected.In late November, the tree is scheduled to be delivered by a horse-drawn carriage and then up the steps of the White House where it will grace the Blue Room throughout the holiday season.The Hedlunds won the national contest in August 1998 at a national convention in Asheville, North Carolina. Their Christmas tree farm consists of more than 60 acres of land and currently has approximately 70,000 Christmas trees growing. The couple raises eight different species of fir and blue spruce on the farm.The Hedlunds are first generation Christmas tree farmers and began growing Christmas trees in 1980 shortly after purchasing their first farm. They are members of the Pacific Northwest Christmas Tree Association, a professional organization representing more than 750 growers, retailers, wholesalers, and industry representatives in the Pacific Northwest.Winners of the National Christmas Tree Association contest have presented the White House Christmas tree since 1966.”