There are 52 registered members of the Ashe County Christmas Tree Association, and all of the growers on that list will tell you they have the biggest, greenest and prettiest Fraser fir trees to adorn in your home for the holiday season.

Ashe County has sent more Christmas trees to the White House than any other county in the United States, so while it is undoubtedly true that native-grown Ashe County Fraser firs are among the world’s finest, only one local grower will leave the 33rd annual Christmas in July Festival with a People’s Choice Award for best-in-show tree.

The Christmas tree competition is truly a “best of the best” event, leaving it up to the people to decide their favorite tree by democratic means.

Last year, a gorgeous green gem from Sturgill Tree Farm took home the 2018 People’s Choice, and in 2017, it was a tall, lush specimen grown at Peak Mountain Farms that earned the favor of festivalgoers.

In 2019, the growing field is once again wide-open, with trees from all over Ashe County gathering on West Jefferson’s Backstreet to pit pine versus pine — all for the illustrious glory and year-round bragging rights to be bestowed upon the winner of this arboreal beauty contest.

Christmas in July attendees can enter their vote for Ashe County’s best Fraser fir between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Saturday, July 6. After votes are tallied, the winner will be announced at 4 p.m.

In addition to the good feeling of having contributed in a democratic election, all voters are entered for the chance to win a free choose-n-cut Christmas tree, redeemable once the holiday season rolls around.

Christmas trees are a cherished commodity in Ashe County. Trees and greenery contribute more than $85 million annually to the Ashe County economy, providing more than 700 year-round jobs and more than 2,000 seasonal jobs, according to the Ashe County Christmas Tree Association.

On any given day, the Fraser firs in Ashe County provide enough oxygen for 216,000 people, according to the ACCTA, perhaps accounting for why the air is just a bit crisper up in North Carolina’s Coolest Corner.

For more information on Ashe County Christmas trees, go online to www.ashecountychristmastrees.com, and don’t forget to stop along Backstreet and make your vote for best-in-show tree during the 33rd annual Christmas in July Festival Saturday, July 6.

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