#1wordwednesday / CHRISTMASTOWN (a virtual tour of McAdenville)

If you’re local to the Charlotte area, no doubt you KNOW all about Christmastown, USA!

This little spot on the map – formally known as McAdenville – has a rich history of magical Christmas lights.

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[photo source: McAdenville website]

From December 1 to 26, the entire town literally transforms at dusk. People line up on the interstate and wait in line to see the lights. Some even walk the streets!

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This year marks the 60th year that this little mill town in North Carolina has drawn hundreds of thousands of visitors to see the lights.

A little bit of history from the McAdenville website:

In 1956, the McAdenville Men’s Club conceived the idea of using lights to decorate a few trees around the McAdenville Community Center. With the permission of town officials and Mr. W. J. Pharr, President of Pharr Yarns, nine trees were decorated the first year.  Mrs. Pharr suggested the use of red, white and green lights, the traditional colors of Christmas. Later, at Mrs. Pharr’s suggestion, the trees around the lake were decorated and the manger scene became the focal point of the Christmas decorations. The reaction to these early efforts was so favorable that each year the number of decorated trees has been increased.         By 2004, more than 375 trees were giving off a warm holiday glow to the town and surrounding area.

Today, and for more than twenty years, Mr. J. M. Carstarphen, Chief Executive Officer of Pharr Yarns, has been instrumental in carrying on this tradition. His support, along with the continuing cooperation of company management and townspeople alike, has ensured that McAdenville will be a special place at a very special time of year when almost every home and evergreen tree proclaim the birth of Jesus.

The more than 375 trees which were decorated last year range in height from 6 feet to more than 90 feet. Only live trees are used. The number of lights on individual trees varies with the height, diameter and fullness of the trees. As few as 500 lights and as many as 5,000 lights may be used on one tree.

[from www.mcadenville-christmastown.com]

Tonight, there was no snow like the photo on the website. It was all RAIN! Still, there were lines, ha!

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But despite the rain, the lake with the lit up trees was just as beautiful as ever in downtown McAdenville!

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Even the post office is a bit festive.

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Some of these trees are GINORMOUS!!! I can absolutely believe that some hold more than 5,000 lights!

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And then there was the house decorated like Ralphie’s house in “The Christmas Story”. See the leg lamp in the window and the big wooden box marked “FRAGILE” on the front porch??

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And more beautiful trees.

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The houses were gorgeous!

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This drive through McAdenville is one I remember since I was a little girl. And our family has our share of McAdenville stories too – like the time we were potty training Kayla and waited in line for almost an hour – only for her to say she’s GOTTA GO! We got out of line. And drove home.

Then there was the time last weekend when we thought we’d hop in the car LATE on a Saturday night and catch the lights at the end of the night (like 10pm) – only to realize there was STILL a line on the interstate. We waited for about 30 minutes, only to get to the top of the exit ramp…and the lights turned off. And we drove home.

Tonight, CHRISTMASTOWN is certainly our #1wordwednesday and I’m just beyond happy we got to see the lights this time 🙂

Want to learn more about Christmastown? You can read the interesting story behind how McAdenville became Christmastown in Our State Magazine.

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