ELLERBE — Throngs of holiday lovers roamed Main Street Ellerbe for Hometown Christmas on Friday evening, munching tiny doughnuts, hopefully signing up for door prizes and swapping stories as they lazed in comfy antique shop chairs.
And when Mayor Lee Berry called for the plug to be inserted to light the town Christmas tree at 6 p.m., his worst fears did not materialize: Downtown did not go dark as the result of a flipped breaker.
“That would be much luck,” Berry mock-moaned beforehand.
As pretty as it was, though, the brightly lighted tree could not hold a metaphoric candle to “suburban Ellerbe” residents Timm Dazey and his wife, Cathy Mooney, who try attend Hometown Christmas every year.
At this year’s event, he sported a bright green Hawaiian-style shirt covered with surfing Santas. She wore a similar number in red.
“The only year we didn’t come was a few years ago, when I hit a deer,” Dazey said. He had to stay with a trooper till 9, missing the whole shebang.
On Friday, Dazey and his equally dazzling wife made the rounds of the shops, browsing and shopping before heading for the fire department, where the Cameronian Quartet sang Christmas songs.
Also inside the firehouse, Santa and Mrs. Claus welcomed a succession of small guests, each more shy than the next, as elves Jingles and Jangles — known on the street as Jayden and Walker Bradford — provided pointy-hatted atmosphere.
Though most children headed straight for Mr. Claus, one — 5-year-old Kallen Heath — formed a quick bond with the cushy Mrs., grinning and snuggling close as if to whisper secrets.
Outside in the dark, John Autry happily flipped burgers for the AMVETS as a nearly full moon acted as backdrop.
“Burger King’s got nothing on us,” he crowed as the fat from his burgers stoked an ever-rising and cheerful flame.
Reach Christine Carroll at 910-817-2673 or firstname.lastname@example.org.