Wendell NC: Small Town, Big Holiday Revelry

Wendell lights creator Don Williams. Photo: Frank Whatley, November 29, 2012.
Wendell lights creator Don Williams. Photo: Frank Whatley, November 29, 2012.

By Frank and Kay Whatley

The Town of Wendell expects its nearly 6,000 town residents to be joined by thousands of visitors during December. With expansive lighting and decorative displays, Wendell, North Carolina’s holiday cheer offers delight for individuals, families and shoppers from miles around.

Incorporated in 1903, Wendell NC sits between Zebulon and Knightdale along Route 64/264. In a city like Wilson or Rocky Mount, residents and visitors can find all the goods and services they need. Wendell, despite being a small town, also offers a variety of shops and personal services to provide what local families need (or want). From the independent grocer to downtown shopping to personal services and fresh farm goods, there are many locally-owned businesses providing for the town.

Founded in the mid-1800s by a group of farmers, the Town of Wendell drew it’s name from Oliver Wendell Holmes. Early town structures stand to this day, with many of its old buildings in the National Register of Historic Places — including two designated historic areas.

The Wendell Boulevard Historic District is a multiple-block area of Wendell is on the National Register of Historic Places. A number of historic homes may be seen by walking the district, which covers portions of Wendell Boulevard, Mattox Street, Old Zebulon Road, Buffalo Street. and Main Street.

The Wendell Commercial Historic District is at the junction of Main Street and Third Street, and includes the old Bank of Wendell building currently occupied by Larry’s Tailor Shop.

More information about the architecture, origins and history of the Town of Wendell may be read online at www.WendellHistoricalSociety.com.

During 2012, several small businesses closed in Wendell, yet more have come and set up shop in downtown and along Wendell Boulevard. Speaking with one of the holiday organizers, she was pleased that this year more storefronts are full than during last year’s holiday season.

As the holidays approach, the storefronts are alive with holiday colors. The Wendell Chamber of Commerce, downtown organizers, and merchants have joined forces to show off Wendell’s spirit and make it a lively destination for holiday activities and shopping. Multiple shops offer antiques and unusual gifts. Is that special gift waiting on a shop shelf?

A large part of Wendell’s Christmas offering this year is the Lake Myra Christmas Light Show. This display joins the town’s planned visits by Santa and Mrs. Claus, the downtown Old Fashion Candy Store, Santa’s mail box, and Main Street displays, Lake Myra Christmas is the largest computerized display in North Carolina. It includes the tallest computer-controlled Christmas tree in the state of NC! At different times during the light show, visitors can see a magician or watch snow being made.

According to Producer, Don Williams, the main display is located at 210 East Fourth Street in Wendell. Two displays which will be lighted throughout December. Mr. Williams puts together the Lake Myra free 300,000 light display “because he loves Christmas.”

Even if not in a holiday mood, visitors may shop at the Wendell Farmers Market, walk through the Historic District, or enjoy the Town parks and their expansive open green spaces and wooded walks. Stop by and see this wonderful Eastern NC town with much to offer, made even more bright and colorful through December.



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About Frank Whatley 19 Articles
Founder of The Grey Area News and staff photographer, Frank Whatley set the direction for the newspaper and news site.