We have been busy elves working on our new Christmas Special. The 2019 theme is A Carolinas Heritage Christmas. We have been filming on location in historic Gold Hill, North Carolina.
The people of Gold Hill kick off the holiday celebrations with an annual event they call “The Lighting of the Fall Fires.” The event is always the Saturday before Thanksgiving and is held, rain or shine. This year it rained, but that did not seem to dampen the sprits of the attendees.
When people arrive, they exchange their tickets for a bag of gold nuggets (painted gold, that is). Once they have their nuggets in hand, they board a trolley that takes guests to their choice of three stops. The nuggets can be exchanged for various food offerings throughout the village.
I met a fellow at the Brunswick Stew station. He so loved the stew that he used three nuggets for three servings. He said it was the best he had ever eaten. Then we met a lady at the chicken and dumpling station who was in line for the second time. She said it brought back great memories.
The village was filled with all sorts of music for people to enjoy as they went from place to place. It was a friendly event with all the charm you might imagine.
Vivian Hopkins at the E.H. Montgomery General Store provided great assistance in our production as well as sharing a look into life in the village. The Montgomery is a popular location during the Holidays and throughout the year with weekly Friday night Bluegrass gatherings.
There were three fires. We were on location with three cameras at the largest fire when it was set ablaze. As the fire was set, I chatted with Darrius Hedrick and John Yelton who have been part of the event from the very beginning 19 years ago. Darrius said the event transitions us into the holiday season. John, now in his 90s, said we need to be thinking about what we can be thankful for.
We were enjoying our chat as the fire grew, so much so that Darrius looked at me and said with a calm smile, “We better move back a bit before my pants melt.” I suppose I was so caught up in the moment that I did not notice that the ground around us was starting to steam from the mist in the air and the growing heat of the blaze.
It was great talking with Darrius and John as they were both involved in making the Gold Hill Village what it is today. Naturally, there are many people involved; however, at that moment I became very aware that “The Lighting of the Fall Fires” is much more than an event to raise money and awareness for the Gold Hill Historic Preservation Society. It is a celebration of the fact that Gold Hill has significant Carolina history and, most importantly, it stands today as the Historic Gold Hill Village and provides a glimpse into our past and comfort for our future.
We will be back in Gold Hill for more filming during the “Christmas in the Village” celebration which is always the first full weekend in December.
Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas Season! Let’s make some new friends and traditions this year, and if we do, maybe depression will not be in our stockings this year.
Carl White is the executive producer and host of the award winning syndicated TV show “Carl White’s Life In the Carolinas.” The weekly show is in its seventh year of syndication and can be seen in the Greenville, Spartanburg viewing market on WLOS ABC 5 a.m. Saturdays and 1:30 p.m. Sundays at WMYA My 40. Visit www.lifeinthecarolinas.com, email White at Carl@lifeinthecarolinas.com