Brundidge ushers in Christmas

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The town of Brundidge has long been known for the string Christmas lights that are “strung” from post to post throughout the downtown area each holiday season.

The lights have been part of the Christmas scene for as long as most residents can remember. When the colored lights are turned on each December, the tradition begins for the newest generation of local residents.

Tonight is the night that people of all ages will join together in a tradition that is more than a half-century-old.

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The Christmas Lighting Ceremony and Holiday Parade will begin at 6 p.m. and will feature the Troy University Concert Band, the Pike County High School Band and 30 entries.

“Several of the entries will sing Christmas carols as they parade and we’ll have hotdogs and drinks available,” said Rue Botts, a member of the sponsoring Brundidge Business Association. “The parade will be a lot of fun and, of course, the magic moment is the turning on of our Christmas lights which we think are just simply beautiful.”

“Simply” is the operable word when it comes to the Brundidge Christmas decorations.

“The Christmas lights are simple,” said Tommy Strother, whose dad, J.B. Strother, began to add “decorations’ the town’s colored strings lights.

Back in the early 1940s before the city bought the electrical system, the idea of stringing colored lights diagonally across Main Street at Christmastime originated with A.C. Davis, who was the superintendent of water and lights.

In 1947, J.B. Strother got the contract to operate the city’s electrical system as People’s Electric.

“Daddy had the idea of adding more designs to the string lights to ‘spice’ them up,” Tommy Strother said.So for 50 years, Main Street in Brundidge has been cloaked in a canopy of an old-fashioned Christmas.

“Back 50 years ago, there was no bypass so traffic from all over the country came right through Brundidge,” Strother said.

“I remember a card from a couple who said they had traveled from Washington State to Florida and Brundidge had the prettiest Christmas lights they had seen.”

At 6 p.m. tonight, those who attend the Christmas Lighting Ceremony and Parade step back into a simpler time when a few colored lights and a star or two were enough to say, Merry Christmas.