Low turnout for Ellerbe Christmas festivities

Lisa Rushing Staff Writer

December 23, 2013

ELLERBE — Mayor Lee Berry may not be 100 percent sure as to what went wrong with the annual Ellerbe Hometown Christmas, but he plans to prevent it from happening again next year.

The Christmas tree lighting at Ellerbe Town Park was scheduled for Saturday night, only four days before Christmas. Only 19 people turned out for the event.

Normally, Hometown Christmas was an annual event that allows businesses and vendors a chance to meet and greet with locals as well as those from surrounding areas. It didn’t go as planned this time around.

“The businesses didn’t want to participate this late in the year,” Berry said.

Berry said that rather than have a halfhearted Hometown Christmas, the decision was made to cancel much of this year’s festivities. Still, Berry had a positive eye towards 2014.

“We’re going to really promote it next year,” he said.

Attendance was down last year, so fear of a “flop” was a concern. Before turning on the lights, Berry announced that next year’s Hometown Christmas will be from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Dec. 4, 2014, and that a committee will start meeting next month to organize the event.

“I’m going to stick to my guns as being the new mayor and y’all are going to see a lot of things change this year, and I think we can make it happen but it’s going to take everybody to make it happen,” Berry said.