Christmas lights ‘define Brundidge character’

Published 9:11 pm Thursday, December 19, 2019

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Visitors in Brundidge for the Chili Country Christmas at the We Piddle Around Theater on December 6, received an unexpected welcome to the city.

As they drove down Main Street many said it was like they had been transported back in time or as if they had suddenly arrived in Mayberry USA.

Cathie Steed, a member of WPA storytelling committee, said the visitors loved the old-fashion Christmas decorations.

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“So many said the string lights are like Christmas used to be,” she said.

Linda Faust, City of Brundidge administrative assistant, said the string lights over Main Street have been a part of the city’s Christmas scene for 60 years or more. The original decorations were handmade by employees of People’s Electric.

“Our Christmas lights define the character of Brundidge, of small-town America,” Faust said.

“The string lights have always been a part of Christmas for me and, for everyone who grew up or lived in Brundidge since the early 1950s. Others would be surprised at the number of people who come back to see the Christmas lights. My brother, Randy, and sisters, Brenda and Beverly, come every year just to see the downtown lights. It’s Christmas. It’s coming home.”

Faust said her dad, the late Fred Walls, loved the Christmas lights and he loved playing Santa Claus in the city. “And he was a good one.”

The outdoor Santa’s Toy Shop and Santa and his reindeer displays are more recent additions to the string lights but only by a decade or so.

Faust said coming “home” to Brundidge brings back the childhood wonder of the season for those who call Brundidge home and those who just want to experience a slice of Americana.

The string lights welcome people downtown with “Merry Christmas” on the north side and “Season’s Greetings” on the south. And, rather recent additions to the city’s Christmas decorations are signage just off the exit on Highway 231 south and a tunnel of lights at the entrance to Brundidge Station.

And, this year, the string lights have been updated but the character of the lights has not been diminished.

Faust said light bulbs have been replaced and new garland added as well as a few lanterns and bells.

“But nothing has been done to change the character of our downtown area at Christmastime,” she said. “We want our decorations to stay as pretty and meaningful as they simply can.”