Photographer's Note

The quiet little town of McAdenville, which lies along the South Fork River in Gaston County N.C., comes alive in spectacular fashion each year as Christmas draws near. Almost overnight, the small textile town is transformed into “ Christmas Town, USA .”

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.

One of the favorite spots for viewers is the lake which is situated near the heart of town. Here are 33 trees, ranging in size from 12 to 40 feet, which ring the lake. The reflection of the lights in the water adds to the beauty of the scene. A fountain, located in the center of the lake, jets water 75 feet into the air. Lights shining on the fountain go through a sequence of red, green, blue and amber about once every ten seconds. At the lake, a 46 foot wide lighted image of Old Man Winter blows snowflakes into the air.

While much emphasis has been placed on the lighting of trees, this represents only a portion of the effort that goes into the preparation for Christmas. The town residents play a big part as they decorate their doors in original styles according to their own personal feelings. This gives a special expression of “Best Wishes for a Merry Christmas” from the townspeople to their visitors. A life-size nativity scene and life-size figures of carolers, complete with music, add to the effect.

More than 200 wreaths adorn lampposts throughout the town. Santa and his reindeer, a display that is nine feet tall and seventy feet long, are featured as part of the annual tradition.

Spot and flood lights are used in varying colors throughout the town to accent the scenes and to give special effects to the trees and surrounding scenery. Chrono-chime bells, mounted on a 30 foot structure located at the Pharr Family YMCA play Christmas carols during the Christmas season.

Also, Chimes ring out Christmas Music from the 80 foot tower/steeple of the McAdenville Baptist Church during the 26 nights of our Christmas light display.

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