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Christmas Town USA: 651 citizens and the biggest light show in America

, Christmas Town USA: 651 citizens and the biggest light show in America, eTurboNews | eTN

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There are 600,000 visitors and only 651 locals in Christmas Town USA. For the last 62 years, Tourists from all over the world are enjoying Christmas Town USA in Gaston County, North Carolina, United States. The official name is McAdenville.

Each Christmas season the quaint town of McAdenville becomes a Christmas wonderland. Almost overnight, the little textile town that could is transformed into “Christmas Town USA” attracting visitors from across the country, and from around the world.

It all started in 1956, when the McAdenville Men’s Club conceived the idea of using red, white and green lights to decorate nine trees around the McAdenville Community Center. Mr. and Mrs. Pharr loved the idea and began the tradition of support for this beautiful example of bringing light into a dark world. The tradition grew and today 375 trees and nearly all the community homes are alit in spectacular fashion with the same red, white and green lights! It is a sight to behold for the 600,000 annual visitors, both young and young at heart that walks along the wreath-lined route through the center of town.  A unique Christmas tradition that has spanned more six decades.

Each December 1st Christmas Town USA begins the season with a Tree Lighting Ceremony at the Dupont Plaza of the Pharr Family YMCA. One child from McAdenville Elementary pulls the switch to light up the town for the next 26 days. Santa always comes to help during this special family event. One of McAdenville’s most beloved traditions is the Yule Log Parade which began in 1949. After a trip overseas where Mr. and Mrs. Pharr attended a yule log burning, they brought the idea of this community gathering here. The townspeople, adults and children alike, meet in front of the Pharr office in downtown McAdenville to join in a parade led by local school bands. The log is dragged through the streets to the memorial yule log fireplace at Legacy Park and placed upon the fire with great exuberance.  Following the parade is a festival of Holiday music and Christmas cheer.

The lights attract visitors from all over the country and are one of the biggest light shows in the US.

Nestled just at the feet of the historic 1881 Mill Tower which broadcasts Christmas carols throughout town is a favorite attraction for so many residents and visitors alike, the 46-foot lighted image of Old Man Winter blowing snowflakes over the glowing tree wreathed lake.  The newly restored Traditional Nativity scene is always displayed on the lawn of the Baptist church as Christmas melodies ring out next door from the Pharr Family YMCA’s Carillon Tower Bells. And no one can ride through McAdenville without feeling a bit nostalgic as they pass the traditional old-world carolers positioned at the historic town library.

McAdenville’s Christmas Town USA was ranked as one of the best cities to see holiday lights. 

About the author


Juergen T Steinmetz

Juergen Thomas Steinmetz has continuously worked in the travel and tourism industry since he was a teenager in Germany (1977).
He founded eTurboNews in 1999 as the first online newsletter for the global travel tourism industry.

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