Lighting up Pineville

Elections signs are disappearing in Pineville, being replaced with Christmas lights in yards and along roads as residents and the town get ready to celebrate the holidays.

Town public works officials will soon hit the road to pick up Pineville’s Christmas tree in Maggie Valley, crews are putting the final touches on displays along Main Street and homeowners are looking to outdo each other for the title of Pineville’s best light show. And one part of the town’s annual holiday fun is already guaranteed to be better than last year.

This summer the town invested in new, brighter LED bulbs for display fixtures after people complained that last year’s lights were too dim. That isn’t a problem any more.

“This will definitely be a 180-degree turn from the old bulbs,” explained Joseph Wheeler, with Pineville Public Works, who was helping coordinate the display effort Thursday, Nov. 14. Public works had the help of Pineville Electric in putting displays up along streets, something Wheeler said made the efforts much easier.

“These are super white,” Wheeler said of the roughly 12,000 bulbs, which are in strands stretching across area roads and in around 80 angel and snowflake displays. “They are the same fixtures as last year, but will look brand new.”

Public works also will put wreaths and bows along Main Street, and has painted every light pole between the Pineville Police Department and Polk Street.

All the work precedes the town’s 10th annual Christmas tree lighting, which will take place Dec. 7, a Saturday, at 6:30 p.m. at the old police department building, 300 Main St. Wheeler, public works director Chip Hill and others will travel back to Boyd’s Tree Farm in Maggie Valley on Nov. 25 to load up the tree and bring it home, but it will be a much more solemn trip than in years past. Don Boatwright, a long-time staple at the Pineville Volunteer Fire Department and around town – and the man who picked out this year’s tree as he has for many years – died a few days after the team came back from finding the town’s Christmas centerpiece.

“He thought that was the greatest job in the world, to go to the mountains,” Libby Boatwright said of her husband’s involvement in picking the tree. “And (Mayor George Fowler) always called him the official tree lighter cause he was always the one to flip the switch. He wasn’t a boastful person, but he was so proud of that tree.”

Pineville will again hold a home decorating contest for residents, in addition to the tree lighting and around-town displays. And to the winner goes not only bragging rights – but some help paying off that Christmas light-fueled power bill. The town will pay for the entire January power bill for the first-place winner in the Best Decorated House Contest. Second place gets half their bill paid for and third place gets a quarter of their bill paid.

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