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Christmas Town, USA
McAdenville, North Carolina
The Christmas Town Tradition
Since 1956

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.

Although the look of McAdenville will be different for the next several years due to work progressing on the development of several new neighborhoods in town, McAdenville and Pharr Yarns are dedicated to continuing the Christmas Town tradition for years to come.

In addition to the local media coverage, McAdenville also received National and International  coverage......

* 1980, Charles Kuralt on his "Morning Show" gave nationwide television coverage to the beauty of McAdenville and placed it on the map as Christmas Town U.S.A.

* 1989, Christmas Town was featured in "Guidepost Magazine".

* 1990, Pat Robertson's "700 Club" also gave nation wide television coverage to the extravaganza.

* 1997, after finding Christmas Town USA on the internet, ABC's "Good Morning America", broadcast a LIVE report from McAdenville as several hundred residents gathered to appear on the show.

* 2000, Cable Network "HGTV" gave world-wide coverage to McAdenville, Christmas Town USA in their Christmas special "Christmas Across America".

* 2002, Cable News Network "MSNBC" aired a news report about the lights in Christmas Town USA.

* 2004, Cable Network "Turner South"   featured McAdenville's Christmas Lights on their Blue Ribbon series.

US Airways Magazine produced an article about McAdenville's Christmas Lights in 2007. 

Each year dozens of request for photos and general information comes from in-state and out-of-state newspapers and magazines. 

The Montel Williams Show requested interviews with McAdenville residents. A camera crew was dispatched to McAdenville and interviewed  8 residents. In December 2005, McAdenville was featured on Montel's show.

2011 -  YAHOO named McAdenville Christmas Town USA in it's 10 places in the Nation to visit during the month of December. 

December 2013 - The Fox Television Network  broadcast a LIVE report from Christmas Town on their Fox and Friends morning show. Two segments were aired live the morning of December 19..

December 2013 - The National Publication - AMERICAN PROFILE featured McAdenville Christmastown USA in it's December 8th publication 

December 2014 - North Carolina - FIELD AND FAMILY featured an article on our Christmas Lights - MCADENVILLE - gets into the holiday spirit with dazzling displays

December 2014  - .Fodor's Travel of New York (Penguin Random House Digital Publishing Group) published an article on Christmas Town USA

December 2014 - Columbia County Magazine located in Martinez, Georgia, ran a 4-page story on Christmas Town USA 



* 2003, ARD a TV network from Germany gave Christmas Town it's first International coverage. An ARD Correspondent and video crew arrived in McAdenville on December 1 for 3 days of video taping and interviews with local residents. The report was aired on the ARD network in German in mid-December. ARD is one of the largest TV station in Germany with a coverage of over 5 million viewers.

A German on-line magazine "bild." an on-line version of Europe's largest daily Newspaper reported to their viewers about Christmas Town with photos and an article about this small Southern Town.

T-online, a major player in the European Internet Market averaging more than 2 million hits (viewers per month) also reported on Christmas Town.

In 2006, another on-line request for information and photos was received from an Austrian Newspaper "Osterreich". Million of Austrian's had the opportunity to  read about and see Christmas Town.

In 2007,  TF1 a French Television Network sent it's US Correspondent and Videographer to McAdenville to report on a day in the life of an American Family living in Christmas Town USA. The video production was aired in France in mid December. 
TF1 has more than 10 million viewers every night.

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Copyright ©2014 Steve Rankin