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Kettle Run counselor to deliver White House Christmas tree with horse-drawn carriage

Thursday, Nov. 26 | By Mark Grandstaff | Google+
Photo by Creative Outlet
A Kettle Run High School faculty member is making a special delivery to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

KRHS Guidance Director Sue Harmon will deliver the White House Christmas tree via horse and carriage on Nov. 27, the day after Thanksgiving. This is the fourth time in eight years her business has been chosen to make the delivery.

“I will be driving the team, and my sister-in-law will be riding with me,” Harmon said. “We are thrilled to do this each year, and of course from the first time we were asked, we felt it was a huge honor.”

Delivering the tree is no easy task. It takes hours of preparation that actually starts on Thanksgiving day.

“On Thanksgiving day we will get out our sleigh bells and polish the brass bells as well as wash and groom the horses,” Harmon explained. “The morning of the delivery, we will wake up early, get the horses up out of the fields, and I will braid their manes and tails. This is an extra touch that we do to dress the horses up.”

Then, of course, Harmon has to select her attire.

“I don't have to wear any certain attire, but I do dress formally,” Harmon said. “Usually I would wear my wool great coat and top hat, but since my sister-in-law does not have the same coat, we are opting for a tuxedo jacket with tails, top hat, breeches and boots this year.”

Once they arrive at the White House, they will go through security, hook the horses to the wagon and wait for the music to play.

Harmon’s Hayrides and Carriages is located in Brandy Station. They currently have 18 Belgium horses on their property. In addition to the White House Christmas tree delivery, they also do parades, weddings, funerals and rides with Santa.

“Whatever you can think of to do with a horse-drawn vehicle, we can probably do it,” Harmon said. “A few years ago we were asked to give a carriage ride to an 8-year old girl with brain cancer. She wanted to be a princess so the Stillbrave Foundation contacted us and asked if we would be willing to make her dream come true. This was truly a very special ride for a very special young lady.”

They also do South-Asian Groom’s Processions (Baraats), and in 2007 they gave carriage rides on the White House grounds for the Congressional picnic which is an event hosted by the President for all the congressmen and senators and their families.

“Our most famous event, however, is the delivery of the White House Christmas Tree,” Harmon said. “It is usually televised around the world. I am really looking forward to once again being part of history and having the opportunity to meet Mrs. Obama. The excitement of the day is something that I will never forget.”

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