Manteo's 'Mr. Christmas' to be celebrated Nov. 18

Edward Greene opened The Christmas Shop in Manteo 50 years ago.

An Outer Banks treasure is hoping old friends and new will join him for a special celebration to mark the 50th anniversary of The Christmas Shop, 621 US-64, in Manteo.

On Saturday, Nov. 18, Edward Greene, 92, will be feted at the expansive holiday shop in appreciation for “spreading the sparkle” to visitors and residents for five decades.

The event, which is from 1 to 5 p.m., is free and open to the public. Greene will be on hand for the festivities.

“Edward Green came to the Outer Banks shortly after World War II. He was a professional dancer, and he got a job playing a Native American in the ‘Lost Colony’ production. Andy Griffith played Sir Walter Raleigh, and the two became very good friends,” says Bill Hinkle, who is helping to organize the event. “When the show ended, Edward went back to Broadway and had a great career − he worked with Milton Beryl, among other giants − but he was always trying to figure out a way to get back here permanently. It finally hit him: He had to open a business that no one else would open. So he opened a Christmas shop.”

Over the years, Greene — who launched the business in 1967 with his long-time friend Richard Lacerre — has watched generations of families walk through the door of the shop looking for that special ornament or gift for a friend or loved ones. It’s been a great joy for him to be part of making Christmas dreams come true for others, since it was the shop that full-filled his own wish — to live full-time on the Outer Banks.

In 2016, Green sold the business to Florida businessman Gary Chatnik and his wife Vicky.

“Edward is just such a wonderful guy, and this is our chance to show him how much he means to everyone, to Manteo, to the entire community,” Hinkle said.

The event will include visits from dignitaries, chamber members and special surprises — what’s Christmas without surprises? Hinkle muses.

Throughout his career, Greene remained active in public life: He served as a Manteo town commissioner, on the Outer Banks Chamber of Commerce, chairman of the New World Festival of the Arts, and he co-founded the Outer Banks Community Foundation. He also formed Island Publishing Co. — and he and his fellow thespian, Andy Griffith, remained close friends until Griffith’s death in 2012.

The store will also showcase some of the memorabilia from Greene’s home, “which is like a museum,” including photos of him with Andy Griffith and the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, which was bestowed on him by the state of North Carolina in 2000. The award is presented to individuals who have shown extraordinary service to the state. Greene also received the Living Legend Award in 2008.

“This is a really great opportunity to celebrate a man who has celebrated Christmas 365 days a year for 50 years,” Hinkle says, “and we’re hoping everyone will come out and help us ‘spread the sparkle.’”

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