McCOLL — An array of lights and assortment of Christmas themed inflatables, statues and ornaments brings thousands to the Candy Cane Wonderland.
For the ninth consecutive year, landscape architect Michael Adams has set up a sprawling and vividly colorful drive-through light display around his picturesque old farmstead at 2107 Family Farm Road, McColl. It opened Nov. 1 and will run from 6 to 10 p.m. nightly through Dec. 31.
At Candy Cane Wonderland, Adams expresses the holiday in a visual way that offers beauty and hope — one that evokes smiles and fond memories of Christmases past.
“I got the idea because there was a Christmas light display in Hartsville that my parents used to take me to as a kid,” Adams said. “I think back to when I started eight years ago and it was so rinky-dink compared to what it is now.’’
With Christmas music playing throughout, the vast illuminated array of sometimes whimsical, sometimes sentimental holiday displays range from the religious to the secular; Santa scenes and elaborate Nativity panoramas, grazing reindeer herds, familiar cartoon characters and even aerial portrayals that draw thousands annually from all over the East Coast.
Adams said more than 60,000 people come through each year. He has already seen about 20,000 people from places such as Georgia, Florida, New Jersey, New York and both Carolinas.
“Because we are open during Thanksgiving and Christmas and a lot of people are here for the holidays, they make it a tradition,” he said. “Which is good because we depend on the donations.”
There is no charge for the array of lights, but donations are appreciated.
A red bucket is hung by the entrance for cash donations, which Adams said he is happy to get. Between Sept. 1, when he and his helpers began running the spider web of electrical cords, and the Dec. 31 closing, he said his electric bill, which usually averages about $60 per month, runs to $3,000 for the four months. It cost him another $1,000 for special event insurance for two months.
More than 100 pieces of illuminated wire art, such as reindeer, and more than 200 inflatables, each requiring electric power for a self-contained air pump and lights, are spread over more than an acre. His house has two electric meters on it to accommodate the extra load.
“It usually takes six weeks with four people working eight hours a day to get ready for the opening,” he said.
Adams buys all of the decorations from every store you could imagine, he said. However, he is hoping there will be enough donations this year to continue on his Candy Cane Wonderland.
“If I lose $3,000 again this year I can’t do it because I don’t have that kind of money,” he said. “I’m struggling to do it this year, but we are able to continue because of donations and I would really like to continue the tradition.”
For information, call Michael Adams at 843-479-4376.
Reach Laurinburg Exchange reporter Abby Hackmann at 910-506-3171.