Each December, the quiet little town of McAdenville in Gaston County comes alive in spectacular fashion for the holidays. Almost overnight, the town transforms into “Christmas Town USA,” which has been consistently ranked in the top 5 in USA Today’s 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards for Best Public Holiday Lights Display.
Christmas Town USA will shine nightly from 5:30 to 10 p.m. Dec. 1-26. Visitors can see hundreds of trees covered in lights and homes and yards decorated for the holidays along the 1.3-mile route.
There is no charge to view the lights, and you can tour the town on foot or by car.
The annual Yule Log Ceremony and Parade are set for Dec. 15 at 5 p.m. on the lawn of the Pharr Corporate Office. The parade will start at 5:50 p.m. and go two blocks to Legacy Park, where the lighting of the Yule Log will take place at 6 p.m.
>> Love Christmas Town USA? Cast a vote for it in USA Today’s 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards for Best Public Holiday Lights Display. You can vote once a day through Dec. 5. Click here to vote!
Know before you go:
If possible, plan to visit Monday through Thursday. Traffic increases greatly from Friday through Sunday.
There is only one route through Christmas Town, so some entrances to McAdenville will be closed to the public during display hours. Designated entrances are accessible from Interstate 85, U.S. Highway 29-74 and North Carolina Highway 7. Click here for directions and recommended routes.
If you choose to walk through the tour, there are five free parking areas in town:
1. Behind McAdenville Baptist Church and Caromont Clinic.
2. On Poplar Street, behind the town’s business area.
3. Beside the lake in the heart of Christmas Town.
4. McAdenville Elementary School at 275 Wesleyan Drive.
5. The River Keep on Dickson Road.
Street parking is also allowed in the business area.
For more information, click here.
‘Puts you in the Christmas spirit’
Lance Millwood remembers going to Christmas Town USA when he was a kid, and takes his grandson now.
“Seeing the smiles on those faces is just unbelievable,” he said. “Puts you in the Christmas spirit and makes you realize how special this time of year is, really.”
New this year, there are nine floating Christmas trees next to the Pharr McAdenville Corporation. The company leads the efforts to decorate 300 trees in town. It’s been a tradition since 1956, when the McAdenville men’s club came up with the idea and got support from the president of the company.
“It’s quite an investment but it’s a gift to the community and whoever wants to visit, to represent the greatest gift given to mankind,” said Christy Gliddon, the vice president of Pharr McAdenville.
This is the 67th year of the McAdenville Lights. Organizers started getting the lights in place back on Labor Day.
The town’s population is just under a thousand people, but their lights and Christmas spirit are known to millions.
“I don’t think it’s work at all. Do you? No it’s not. It’s fun,” said resident Helen Niles.
“The children are so excited. They walk down the street and look at the decorations and are just jumping around,” said resident Angela Bradmon.
VIDEO: Christmas Town, USA, through the years