Charlotte - The arrival of the holiday season means more traffic for the Gaston County community of McAdenville, also known as Christmas Town, USA. As thousands of visitors are expected to drive through the area, the Department of Transportation is working to ensure traffic flows smoothly, both for motorists heading to McAdenville and for drivers passing through to other destinations.
The town will officially kick off its 61st year of this popular free attraction at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 1, continuing through Monday, Dec. 26. Visitors can enjoy the festive light displays Monday through Friday from 5:30 -9:30 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 5:30 -11 p.m.
"The best time to avoid the heavy traffic is to visit Monday through Thursday", says Steve Rankin with the Christmas Town Committee. "Heavier traffic is typical on Friday and Saturday nights."
NCDOT will place message boards on I-85 to inform motorists of the following:
Drivers coming from Charlotte should use U.S. 74 (Wilkinson Boulevard) into McAdenville; an alternate route is from I-85 South to Exit 27 ( N.C. 273) to U.S. 74;
Motorists driving north on I-85 should use Exit 22 (Lowell) into McAdenville; and
The ramp from I-85 North to Exit 23 (N.C. 7) will be closed nightly during events.
Due to the large number of vehicles expected in the area, motorists should expect delays and slow down during the holiday season. One option for visitors is to arrive early, between 5 -5:15 p.m., find a parking spot and wait for the lights to come on at 5:30 p.m. Walking through McAdenville offers another way to see the lights while hearing the church chimes ringing in the background. Pedestrians are asked to remain on the sidewalks and not enter homeowners' private property.
To find out more about Christmas Town USA, visit the event website.
For real-time travel information, visit the Traveler Services section of NCDOT.gov or follow NCDOT on Twitter.
Editor's Note: Photo courtesy of Steve Rankin