MCADENVILLE, N.C. — Christmas Town USA fired up their annual light display Monday, putting the quiet McAdenville community front and center for yet another holiday season.
The highly anticipated event brings thousands of people to Gaston County every December. While most of us only think about McAdenville when the Christmas lights turn on, a thriving community lives there year-round, and when those folks tell people they live in "Christmas Town," they always get the same questions.
There are a few myths surrounding the beloved tradition and the people who live in the middle of it.
"We don't think we're crazy," joked one neighbor.
Crazy for Christmas, maybe. Contrary to popular belief, most homes in McAdenville aren't actually required to decorate. It's highly suggested, and if you live there, why wouldn't you decorate?
As for the homeowners who don't?
"We just jokingly say we heckle them until they throw a wreath up," one person said.
All jokes aside, this is one neighborhood that takes their holidays seriously. And they start early.
"Halloween night we put the pumpkins away to transition on November 1," said another neighbor. "Probably before the department stores bring out their Christmas stuff."
And about that rumor that the mill that started all this madness helps pay for homeowners' power bill? Let's just say things have changed. When properties were owned by the mill and were occupied by mill workers, the mill did foot the bill. These days, homeowners are on their own.
Oh, and there's another big question they face: How do you get into your neighborhood?
Those who live in McAdenville get a special pass but you have to fight traffic just to use it.
"If you live in McAdenville, you anticipate that traffic and make adjustments," said one neighbor.
Despite the hassle, those who call this quirky village home say they wouldn't live anywhere else.