The quiet little town of McAdenville, which lies along the South Fork River in Gaston County, North Carolina, holds magic each and every Christmas! During the holiday season, it is busy with tourists and local residents who visit the town to take part in Christmas Town U.S.A.! During this time of year, the small little town of McAdenville comes alive in spectacular fashion for the extravagant, luminous and amazing Christmas light display! Find out how this quaint little town transforms into…“Christmas Town, USA”!
The History of the Bright Lights!
In 1956, the McAdenville Men’s Club conceived the idea of using lights to decorate trees around the McAdenville Community Center. After receiving permission from town officials and Mr. W. J. Pharr, President of Pharr Yarns, nine trees were decorated the first year. Because many saw the beauty and splendor in decorating the trees, the number of trees decorated increased year after year. By 2005, more than 375 trees were brightly lit and giving passersby warm holiday joy while giving off a warm holiday glow to the town and surrounding area!
Today, more than 375 trees are decorated and and encompass a multitude of heights… 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. Some trees utilize 500 lights while others use 5,000 lights depending upon the width, height and depth of the tree.
Lights On… Lights Off!
Lights come on at 5:30p each evening from December 1st through December 26th.
Lights go off at 11:00p on Saturdays and Sundays and at 9:30p on all other nights (including Fridays). There are ON and OFF switches that are controlled by automatic timers.
One of the favorite spots for viewers is the lake. The lake, which is situated near the heart of town, offers viewing of more than 30 trees, ranging in size from 12 to 40 feet. Many are captivated by the The reflection of the lights on the water, which adds to the beauty and serenity of the display. Adjacent to the lake is the historic bell tower that has served as a focal point for the Town of McAdenville since the establishment of McAden Mills in the early 1880’s. When McAdenville was founded in 1881, boundaries for the town were established as a one-mile radius, with the bell tower standing in the nucleus.
Beginning in early August, thousands of strings of lights are checked for broken and burned out bulbs. Once this is the “lighting crew” begins stringing more then 450,000 RED, GREEN and WHITE lights in preparation for Christmas in McAdenville! From the smallest to the largest tree, all evergreens, special care and love are given to the evergreens and preparation of them is crucial yet necessary. After the lights are strung by the crew, they are then checked for placement, design and focus. Then come December 1st, there are lights everywhere!
Yule Log Parade and Ceremony
The rich and loving tradition of Yule Log Parade and Ceremony, an event that began in 1950, still very much apart of the Christmas celebration in McAdenville Each year, residents and visitors follow the Yule Log,which is pulled by children on a sled through town to Legacy Park located on Elm Street in downtown McAdenville. The log is then positioned in the open fireplace and is ignited. The audience joins together in the singing of Christmas carols.
The Gateways To Christmas Magic!
Here are directions for you as you make your way to Christmas Town U.S.A.!
McAdenville sits between Interstate 85 and U.S. 29-74 Christmas Town U.S.A. is easily accessible from
major highways via Interstate 85 and U.S. 29-74 and is located just West of Charlotte, the Carolina’s largest city. The town is also located ease of Gastonia, Gaston County’s largest city.
From Intestate 85:
Charlotte, once through Charlotte,
travel approximately 7 miles. Cross the Catawba River,
take exit 27 at the end of the exit ramp. Turn left,
travel for about one mile, turn right onto US 29-74.
Stay on US 29-74 for about 6 miles cross the South Folk River
travel 1 mile and turn right onto Wesleyan
Drive (Town of McAdenville)
if you prefer to stay on I-85
continue South approximately 6 miles. Cross the
South Fork River, leave Interstate 85
at exit 23 (Lowell-McAdenville exit)
From U.S. 29 – 74:
Travel West through Charlotte, once through
Charlotte travel approximately 7 miles,
cross the Catawba River, continue West for
approximately 6 miles, cross the South Fork River
After crossing the South Fork continue
1 mile turn right onto Wesleyan
Drive (Town of McAdenville)
U.S. 29 – 74 is the recommended route for those
traveling from the Charlotte area.
Please note, exit ramp 23 (Lowell-McAdenville exit – traveling north) will be
closed during the hours the Christmas Lights are on.
Celebrate 56 years of rich and wonderful tradition! Visit McAdenville, Christmastown U.S.A. tonight!
Cicely C. Mitchell