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Life In the Carolina's Podcast

Nov 25, 2019

On this episode of the Life in the Carolinas podcast, Carl talks with Amy Bridges, Downtown and Community Development Manager of the Town of Forest City, North Carolina. A small community of about 7,500 people in Western North Carolina, about 20 miles from the South Carolina border, Forest City has never been the county seat, but they have made a name for themselves in community development.

After being hit hard by the recession and the closing of the textile mills that were the main industry in the region, the town of Forest City made a conscious decision to dig in deeper and commit to revitalize their downtown area. Many restaurants and merchants have jumped on board in the 10 years since, and just this past spring, the town unveiled the Pavilion on Park Square (POPS) which features a 1,500-capacity amphitheater and two splash pads. Considered by the state to be a Tier 1 community, characterized by financial distress, these amenities are the first of their kind for the town and are actually driving tourism. At the debut concert at the Burnt Chimney amphitheater (as Forest City used to be called), people came from all over North and South Carolina and were impressed by the facilities.

On the night of Thanksgiving, the town holds its Christmas tree lighting ceremony, usually attended by 2,000 people, and the season is officially welcomed in. Forest City goes all out for Christmas with lights wrapping the trunks of the trees lining Main Street, outlining the buildings, and spanning the width of Main Street. The festivities peak on Friday and Saturday nights between Thanksgiving and Christmas with live music, carriage rides, hayrides, ice skating, movies in the park, Santa’s house, and carolers.

Amy has had a front-row seat to the collaboration and partnerships between local businesses and the mutual efforts to make Christmas such a special time in Forest City. In fact, has named Forest City the #1 Christmas town and the #2 place to see Christmas lights in western North Carolina. She is excited for the future development of the town and the unique opportunities that are headed their way.


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