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A towering tribute to Christmas

Posted on 11/20/2015 by Jean Sexton

Our magical Candlelight Christmas Evenings bring the season to life with flickering candlelight and cozy flames, plus the sounds of choirs and musicians to create an intimate atmosphere in Biltmore House. On the Front Lawn, a 55-foot Norway spruce tree, lit by 45,000 tiny bright lights and surrounded by hundreds of hand-lit luminaries, welcomes guests and sets a charming holiday mood. 

Big tree being set on Front Lawn of Biltmore House"For Christmas decorations outside Biltmore House," said Cathy Barnhardt, Floral Displays Manager, "we need a tree that's tall enough to show up in front of America's largest home!"

Each year, our Floral team works with Andrews Nursery--the same nursery that provides our magnificent Banquet Hall Christmas trees--to find a towering evergreen that will work for the Front Lawn. Their preference is for a tree that already needs to be removed because of its proximity to homes or power lines. In 2012, for example, the Front Lawn tree came from Roan Mountain on the North Carolina/Tennessee state line.

"It started out as a live inside Christmas tree that was planted outside after the holiday," Cathy said. "It grew for nearly 50 years until it just got too big for the yard and had to come down. We were very excited to bring it to Biltmore."

Norway spruce for the Front Lawn arrives at Biltmore HouseAs for lighting the massive Front Lawn tree each year, our engineering team spends several nights creating the glowing display.

This year's Norway spruce weighs in at 11,000 pounds, is 55-feet tall and 34 years old," said Brent Merrell, Director of Engineering Services. "We use three boom lifts to decorate it and most of the lights are placed after dark so we know they are evenly distributed.” 

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