GASTON COUNTY, N.C. (WBTV) - The small North Carolina town of McAdenville, “Christmas Town USA,” lit up Monday night for the first time of the 2019 holiday season.
McAdenville has been dressing its town as a Christmas village since 1956. The tree lighting ceremony officially kicked off the town’s season opening Monday night.
Sights included a large nativity scene and over 250 evergreens covered with more than half a million red, white, and green lights. Each homeowner uniquely decorated their home in hopes of sticking out among the other 159 adorned houses.
Town decorations include a large lake circled with dozens of illuminated evergreens. Seasonal music will be played nightly from the McAden Mills Bell Tower, which was constructed in 1883 and stands near the lake.
USA Today has named McAdenville one of the top 20 best holiday light displays in the country. It all started with a simple idea by the Pharr family, who decided to make a “Merry Christmas” sign and decorate one tree with lights. From there, the Christmas spirit spread.
Visitors can either drive or walk through the town. “There’s never a charge to visit McAdenville – Christmas Town USA,” town officials say.
The tree lighting is typically held on Dec. 1, which fell on a Sunday this year. Children, who make up a large part of the ceremony’s entertainment, were not in school Sunday – so the town changed the lighting to Monday, Dec. 2.
A McAdenville Elementary School student will pull the “switch” at 6 p.m. Monday, setting the town aglow. The lighting will be held at the Pharr Family YMCA.
After Monday’s opening ceremony, the lights will be turned on nightly at 5:30 p.m. and turned off at 9:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. On weekends, the lights will be turned off at 11 p.m.
With over 600,000 people expected to visit the town this month, traffic jams are likely.
Church Street and Academy Street will be closed for vehicles but open to pedestrian traffic. Both streets are in the round-a-bout near the elementary school.