Christmas in the Grove brings out holiday cheer for the family

Published 12:10 am Monday, December 16, 2019

By Liz Moomey

CHINA GROVE — Saturday night’s Christmas in the Grove event was the epitome of a small town Christmas celebration.

Josh Farmer was making an ornament with his 6-year-old son Cayton. The Farmer family moved to the town in June 2018. They attended their first Christmas in the Grove that winter. Cayton and Laken, 3, were looking forward to returning this year, especially roasting marshmallows around the fire.

Farmer said China Grove has it all for a small town and the holidays.

After making an ornament to hang up on the tree, the Farmers were going to go see Santa and hang out with superheroes nearby. Spiderman took some time from fighting crime to take pictures with kids.

Carson High School students offered face painting. Families could sip on hot chocolate and eat popcorn. Shops stayed open late. Olaf from Frozen wandered into the boutiques. A snow woman and an elf waved as cars drove down Main Street.

Amy McDowell, of Cleveland, came to Christmas in the Grove with her family.

She wanted her 4-year-old daughter to have the same experience she did growing up in a small town.

“This reminds me of my childhood,” McDowell said. “I like the idea of a close-knit community.”

Her daughter took a photo with Santa. Then, they went to visit the petting zoo.

The China Grove Fire Department decorated its firetruck with Christmas lights.

“We just brought the firetruck out for fun,” said Charlie Perrell. “The kids love it.”

The department was also raising money with a “Fill the Boot” fundraiser for 15-year-old Peyton, who is living with Duchenne muscular dystrophy, which is a genetic disease that affects voluntary muscle function.

Fill the Boot is a national organization where firefighters raise money for muscular dystrophy by filling a firefighter’s boot with money. Saturday was the first night of the fundraiser. 

“Christmas in the Grove brings out the small-town feel. You can be with friends and family,” Perrell said.

Christmas in the Grove allowed guest to take in plenty of family fun, but sledding on Swink Street was postponed, since the hill was muddy.

China Grove rescheduled the sledding in the snow for Jan. 4. The “Snow in the Grove” event will be weather-permitting. Attendees are asked to bring their own plastic sleds, not metal sleds.

Councilman and former Mayor Don Bringle said Christmas in the Grove is a great community event.

“Our town is thriving,” Bringle said.

China Grove Mayor Charles Seaford echoed those thoughts, but said his favorite part was rained out. Seaford said he likes the horse-drawn wagon rides down Main Street that allow participants to sit back and relax.

“I love it,” Seaford said. “This is just a great family atmosphere.”