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Christmas on the River' celebrates 30 years

By By Penny Randall/The Meridian Star
Nov. 30, 2001
DEMOPOLIS, Ala. The banks of the Tombigbee River will come alive Saturday as the Christmas on the River (COTR) nautical parade celebrates its 30th year.
An estimated 50,000 people are expected to attend the week-long celebration that began Sunday.
Saturday's events begin with the Jingle Bell Run/Walk at 8 a.m., followed by the start of the day parade at 11:30 a.m. through downtown Demopolis.
Donnie Allison, a member of the Allison racing family, will serve as day parade grand marshal.
Allison was named Grand National (now Winston Cup) Rookie of the Year in 1967. He has served as the manager and crew chief for several Winston Cup and Busch Grand National teams.
He will sign autographs Saturday at 9:30 a.m. at the Demopolis Area Chamber of Commerce.
Other Saturday events include the Alabama State BBQ Championship Cookoff at the City Landing. The cookoff, which begins today, continues Saturday. The winning team garners a bid to the national competition at "Memphis in May."
A "Singing Santa Show" will be held at the Marengo Theater at 2 p.m. and the "Best Little Christmas Pageant Ever" gets under way at 2:30 p.m. at the Old School.
The much anticipated Nautical River Parade and Fireworks Display debuts at 6:30 p.m. at the City Landing.
The parade has become a yearly tradition for the Steen family of Demopolis, whose home sits on the banks of the river.
Steen's husband decorates the outside of their two-story home, built in 1902, and the brick wall that lines the river, with hundreds of lights and Christmas wreaths.
Their upstairs porch is filled to capacity when the parade comes into view.
The celebration cumulates with a post parade dance held at the Demopolis Civic Center. Admission is $10 and you must be 21 to attend.
Demopolis is about 53 miles east of Meridian on Highway 80. For information, contact the Demopolis Area Chamber of Commerce at (334) 289-0270.
Saturday events:
7:30 a.m-4 p.m.: Fair in the Square
8 a.m.: Jingle Bell Run/Walk
11:30 a.m.: Children's day parade
Noon-4 p.m.: Alabama State BBQ Championship Cookoff (City Landing)
2 p.m.: "Singing Santa Show" (Marengo Theater)
2:30 p.m.: "Best Little Christmas Pageant Ever" Canebrake Theater production
6:30-8 p.m.: Nautical river parade and fireworks display (City Landing)
8:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m.: Post parade dance "Maleman" in concert at Demopolis Civic Center