• 45°

Gold Hill Lighting the Fires

GOLD HILL — Christy Trexler grew up in Gold Hill and nothing makes her feel more at home than the annual Lighting of the Fall Fires event, which has since 2000 been bringing crowds into the former mining town.

She’s been attending the annual event, which usually happens the weekend before Thanksgiving, since it began. The Lighting of the Fires was created as a way to celebrate the rebirth of the town. “This place is heritage. This gets me in the holiday mood,” Trexler said.

Trexler attended Saturday with a group of friends — Laura Delaney and her son, Josh, friend Marlene Dunn and her husband, Alan, and the Dunns’ family friend, Kristin Honeycutt. It was Laura Delaney’s second year attending the lighting.

“It’s different. It’s great. It gets you in the holiday spirit,” Delaney said.

Before heading into the village, ticket holders received refreshments served by members of the Historic Parks and Mines Foundation events committee and a taste of wine courtesy of Morgan Ridge Vineyards in Gold Hill. Then it was time to board a trolley into the village, where merchants collected gold nuggets that served as admission into the shops.

In each shop patrons received different goodies like hot cider, corn chowder or brownies and other delicious treats.

Carolyn Davis was experiencing the event for the first as a new business owner alongside her co-owner and 16-year-old daughter, Cierra. The pair operate Mauney’s Store, a mini artisan mall that features crafts and other items that have been repurposed and upcycled, housed in a restored 1840s general store.

The featured artists are from all over the Piedmont region, and their works include art, candles, quilts and jewelry. Davis said she wants people to not just shop in the store, but also linger by the wood stove and feel as though they can sit a spell, eat fudge, drink coffee and relax. Davis is in the education field, but has always wanted to own a country store.

Pam McLamb had never been to Gold Hill until she discovered the town on Facebook through Design Junkies, a group she’s a part of whose members find the beauty in junk and create crafts from repurposed items. She attended the event with her husband and their grandson, Luke, 2. The trio arrived a “tad” early, McLamb said, and had been in Gold Hill virtually all day.

“We’ve been here since noon. We are in heaven,” she said with a smile.

McLamb was at home in that environment and even talked about how much she would love to operate a shop in historic Gold Hill village. She was able to begin her Christmas shopping and loved the fact that Gold Hill was less than an hour from her home in Trinity.

“This is a great town. It’s a well-kept secret,” she said.

McLamb enjoyed the fact that it wasn’t too crowded and she was able to shop around.

“This is manageable,” she said.

The event culminated a family weekend for the Gibson-Cawley family. Karen Cawley was in Gold Hill with her sister, Sarah Gibson, their parents, brother and children.

“This is my first time. We’ve been sampling and giggling as we go,” Cawley said.

“This is such a great way to spend a family evening,” Gibson said.

The sister’s parents, Dale and Joe Gibson, traveled to spend the weekend with them from Little River, S.C. When there are big events like this, the family gets together. The night before, they were at Charlotte Motor Speedway for the Eggnog Jog event.

Cousins Lauren Gibson, 9, and Isaac Gibson, 8, said they enjoyed all of the delicious food.

Lauren said she enjoyed hearing about the history of Gold Hill. In some of the shops, owners and historians told patrons about the history of their particular shop. The air was brisk, but there was plenty of warm drinks and heated shops to duck into in the village.

Dawn Cox and her friend Joyce Johnson were huddled around the huge bonfire eating Brunswick stew and talking about all they’d seen and done that evening. It was their first time at the Lighting of the Fall Fires.

Cox said it was like spending time at grandma’s house, and Johnson said she enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere.

“All of the stores go all out,” said Vivian Hopkins, who sits on the board of the Historic Parks and Mines Foundation. She said the event typically draws 500 ticketholders, but this year they expected 550.

“We like to view this as an old-fashioned event that really showcases the town. You see the town’s restoration efforts,” Hopkins said.

She said some people who attend are regular patrons, and some have been introduced to the unique stores for the first time.

When the Indigo Tea Market closed, sisters Monica Ames and Molly Blackwell decided they wanted to fill that void. Two hours before the lighting event began the sisters opened their own tea shop — Sweet Tea Gift Shop and Tea House. They used to bring their daughters to historic Gold Hill, and they all loved it. Ames and Blackwell, who grew up helping out in their mother’s greenhouses, also specialize in flower arrangements and will also feature gifts.

“It’s so peaceful. It’s a fun place to be,” Blackwell said.

The event is sponsored by the Gold Preservation Society.

Contact reporter Shavonne Potts at 704-797-4253.

 

 

Comments

Business

Weak jobs report spurs questions about big fed spending

News

Judge limits footage that family can see of deputy shooting in Elizabeth City

Sports

Woodland, two others share lead; Mickelson plays much worse but will still be around for weekend at Quail Hollow

Business

Former NHL player to open mobster themed bar in Raleigh

Nation/World

California population declines for first time

News

GOP leaders differ on bottom line for state spending

News

Police: Man killed in shootout with officers in Winston-Salem

Crime

Man charged after thieves rob would-be gun buyers of wallets, shoes

Crime

Blotter: Four added to sheriff’s most wanted list

High School

High school football: Some anxious moments, but Hornets win state title

Local

Photos: Salisbury High Hornets win big in 2AA championship game

Local

County manager outlines projections for the upcoming fiscal year budget, suggests uses for stimulus money

Business

Miami-based Browns Athletic Apparel opens second screen printing location in Salisbury

News

At funeral, fallen Watauga deputies remembered as ‘heroes’

Coronavirus

COVID-19 cluster identified at Granite Quarry Elementary

Coronavirus

More than half of North Carolinians have now taken at least one vaccine shot

Local

City hopes to cover expenses in 2021-22 budget with surplus revenue generated this year

Local

Fallen tree proves to be a blessing for local nonprofit Happy Roots

Local

Quotes of the week

Coronavirus

Health department drops quarantine time from 14 to 10 days

Crime

Blotter: More than $100,000 in property reported stolen from Old Beatty Ford Road site

Local

City fights invasive beetles by injecting trees with insecticide

Local

City names downtown recipients for federal Parks Service grant

China Grove

China Grove Town Council weighs 2021-22 budget priorities, supports buying body cameras