Originally published by ABC11:
On the quiet banks of the South Fork of the Catawba River, an unassuming mill town at the foot of Appalachia hides a decades-old secret identity. Each December the small town’s 660 citizens deck the halls with half a million twinkle-lights — every house, school, and business — and North Carolina’s very own Christmas Town comes to life.
It looks like a real-life Thomas Kinkade painting. With dancing red and green lights flickering their reflections on the rippling lake, the twinkling seems to come from all angles. A sculpture of wire and glowing bulbs twisted into the words “Merry Christmas” stands high on a hillside by the Fire Department. History, or legend, says 64 years ago those 4-foot letters could once be seen glowing all way in Belmont, the next town over.
“This is our Christmas gift to the world,” said John Bailey, who owns McAdenville Table and Market on Christmas Town’s main street. “It’s completely free to come visit the displays and drive through the town.”
The lights aren’t the only reason this town is bright.