Belgian Horse Team Delivers White House Christmas Tree

scott-harmon-with-karry-and-dempsey-4.jpg

“Karry” and “Dempsey” with driver, Scott Harmon

~~~

A matching team of Belgian horses delivered the official White House Christmas tree to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue on Monday, Nov. 26, to kick off the holiday season in the nation’s capitol.

The 20-foot-high Fraser Fir was delivered on a four-wheeled wagon driven by Scott Harmon of Meadow Acres Farm in Brandy Station, North Carolina.

Midge Harmon’s team of Belgian draft horses, “Karry” and “Dempsey”, and her son Scott personally carted the 20-foot Frazier fir tree from a drop-point downtown to the White House.

2delivering-the-white-house-christmas-tree-2.jpg

This is the first time Harmon’s horses have been invited to deliver the official White House Christmas Tree.

“What an honor this was,” Midge Harmon said. “This is probably the biggest thing for a team of horses to be invited to do. I’m really proud and it was always a dream of my (late) husband”.

Harmon’s horses were selected by the White House to deliver the tree earlier this year after they provided hayrides for a congressional picnic on the White House grounds.

In the past, Oxen Hill Farm has traditionally handled the White House Christmas tree procession. However, this year they were not available.

Since the Harmons have trained Oxen Hill drivers and horses for the past 25 years, it turned to the Harmons to pull its wagon this year.

In preparing “Karry” and “Dempsey” for delivery of the White House Christmas tree,  the horses were washed and braided and turned out in full formal harness.

The manes were braided with green and red “flags” that rise above a French braid along the crest of the neck, and the tails were done up in a “Scotch knot.”

3-midge-harmon.jpg

Midge Harmon adorns Belgian draft “Kerry”
after braiding the mane.

The harness were outfitted with sleigh bells, and the black harness itself was polished and every brass buckle shined.

The Fraser Fir tree, so huge that it spilled off the wagon front and back, was bedecked with a big red, white and blue bow. The tree was a gift from Mistletoe Meadows Christmas Tree Farm in Laurel Springs, North Carolina.

white-house-xmas-tree-arrives-2.jpg

As Laura Bush stepped onto the Portico to accept the special delivery she said, “We’re thrilled that this beautiful tree…is going to be here in the Blue Room.

As Bush admired the 19-year-old evergreen,  Karry and Dempsey waited patiently behind her, nonplussed by photographers’ flashbulbs and television lighting.

“They’re used to all the excitement,” Midge Harmon said of Karry and Dempsey.

4-official-white-house-christmas-tree-arrives-2.jpg

The business provides wedding carriages, festive hayrides and town festival entertainment, and all the farm’s horses are quite serene, even in the excitement of a city street. “They know their job,” she added.

As soon as Bush and Mistletoe Farm owners Linda Jones and Joe Freeman stepped away from the wagon, Midge Harmon stepped in with teamster David Yauch and daughter-in-law Susan Harmon to unhitch Karry and Dempsey from the wagon.

5-doners-of-christmas-tree.jpg

Shafts unhooked, Scott Harmon urged the pair forward, leaving the wagon and tree for White House staff to unload, and returned to the Harmon horse trailer parked a few blocks away from the White House.

The tree had been shipped from North Carolina via flatbed trailer.

Harmon and his horses met the truck to make the “old-fashioned” delivery, far more romantic, Harmon said, than having a tractor-trailer pull up to the presidential residence.

white-house-xmas-tree.jpg

Midge Harmon, with her family, grandchildren
and Scott Harmon attending the Belgian Team.

Harmon’s Hayrides has been in operation for 37 years, first in Centreville, and for the past four years in Brandy Station. Harmon owns five teams of Belgian horses, providing hayrides for up to 120 guests at a time and formal carriages for weddings and other events.

Midge Harmon said that all five of the teams will be hard at work to kick off the Christmas season.

~~~

The tradition of placing a decorated tree in the White House began in 1889 during the presidency of Benjamin Harrison.

~~~

Link:  Harmon’s Belgians

Photographic Credits:  Chris Greenberg, Joyce N. Boghosian, Katie Dolac, Scott Harmon

About these ads

The URI to TrackBack this entry is: https://simplymarvelous.wordpress.com/2007/12/02/belgian-horse-team-deliver-white-house-christmas-tree/trackback/

RSS feed for comments on this post.

11 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. How cool is that! Look at the size of the trunk on that tree. That must take some tree stand.

  2. The first picture is pretty enough to be a Christmas card. The horses and wagon and driver all have the Christmas theme. Even the harnesses have red bows.

    Harmon Farms did a beautiful job.

  3. You find the most interesting news! That IS one big tree. I can picture my Jasper with that pretty harness on and bows in his mane :)

  4. Love that first picture…Marvel, you just post the best stories. Love reading your blog.

  5. Cool story. Love drafties. This summer Darling got to stand alongside while one was being braided up for show. Had to climb up on that grooming table so she could see what was going on. Sure wish I’d had a camera with me that day!

  6. I also LOVE that 1st photo!

    I would love to have my Xmas tree delivered in such wonderful grace.

  7. That’s enough to make me ditch my artificial tree.

    Big tree! Big horses! That’s a wonderful story. I would love to have been there.

    I know little about drafts. They make me stare and stare and stare. Something that big and beautiful doesn’t compute. It’s a horse. No, too big for a horse. Too calm for a horse. But it looks kind of like a horse. Smells like a horse. Can’t be a horse. They say it’s a horse. I can’t wrap my brain around these monster horses.

  8. A message from the Harmon’s:
    Thank you for the great article on our Belgians trip to The White House to deliver the 2007 Blue Room Christmas Tree. You combined the information and photos from several articles and made an even more interesting article. We just received an invitation last week to bring in the 2008 White House Christmas Tree so look for us again the Monday after Thanksgiving.

    All The Harmons.

    ~~~
    To All The Harmons,
    Thank you for your message. It was a delight to hear from you.
    Your story added to the Christmas spirit for all of us. We look forward to seeing photos of your 2008 Christmas delivery to the White House.

  9. The way it was, these are the gentle giants.
    if traffic was like this ,the world would be a better place. what a heart warming picture. thanks for sharing.

    LINDA , QUALICUM BEACH B.C.

  10. Absolutely beautful, great job done, amazingggggggggg

  11. Simply Beautiful! Even the area where they are traveling down the road to the White House is gorgeous. I’m from California, so its quite beautiful in that part of the country.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 137 other followers

%d bloggers like this: