County preps for Christmas parades
Thanksgiving is over, Christmas is coming soon, and that can mean just one thing: ‘tis the season for Christmas parades.
Franklin County is the home of no less than four Christmas parades, which will all take place over the course of a week, beginning tomorrow.
Russellville will kick off parade season for Franklin County tomorrow, Dec. 1. The parade will begin at 6 p.m., with line-up at 5:15 p.m. in the Big Star parking lot Russellville’s theme will be Christmas Movies – offering plenty of fodder for creatively decorated floats and other vehicles.
With the biggest parade of the season, Russellville will welcome floats, trucks, cars, marching bands and other groups to celebrate the season. The grand marshal will be Farm-City Citizen of the Year William Stone. Santa Steve Bell will also be a special guest.
To ensure a safe and fun parade experience, the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce is putting a few rules in place this year for parade participants.
“We’re asking people do not toss suckers, and if you’re going to distribute candy, it needs to be tossed to the ground and not thrown,” chamber director Cassie Medley said.
As an added feature in Russellville, the Franklin County Arts and Humanities Council will be sponsoring a free Christmas movie inside the Roxy beginning 30 minutes after the Christmas parade. The movie will be “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” starring Jim Carrey, rated PG. Popcorn, candy and soft drinks will be available in the concession area.
Red Bay’s parade will be held Dec. 5 at 6 p.m., with line-up at 5 p.m. at Sunshine Homes parking lot. The theme is Making Christmas Treasures.
“Our floats will pattern their float to that theme,” said Linda Holcomb, who helps coordinate the Red Bay Christmas Parade. “This was Alabama’s Year of Makers, so we just used Making Christmas Treasures.”
Scotty Kennedy, of the Red Bay Museum, the Bay Tree Council for the Performing Arts and Scotty Kennedy Photography, will be the grand marshal. “It’s a huge honor,” Kennedy said. “I appreciate the committee selecting me. I know I’m in the company of some great past grand marshals.” To bring a little extra style to the parade, Kennedy will debut a piece of fashion history for his parade attire: a jacket owned and worn by George Jones, designed by Manuel of Nashville. “It’s a recent acquisition for the museum,” Kennedy explained. The jacket, which is black and covered in black rhinestones, will soon be added to the Tammy Wynette exhibit at the Red Bay museum.
Billy Boyd will play Christmas music starting at 5 p.m. on Main Street to precede the parade. Immediately following the parade will be the Red Bay Bucks drawing for 17 winners of cash prizes totaling $1,500. People can enter the drawing by shopping and making a purchase from a local merchant and can also spend those bucks at participating local businesses.
Caroling is expected in Heritage Park after the parade as well.
The parade will follow Red Bay merchants’ Christmas Open House Dec. 4, which will offer special deals to tempt Christmas shoppers. As part of open house, the senior center will host a soup and chili lunch fundraiser for the senior center, beginning at 11 a.m. and lasting until 2 p.m. Guests have their choice of soup or chili, crackers or cornbread and a drink for $5, with desserts also available. Money raised will help to fund the Senior Christmas Dinner.
Parade season will continue Dec. 6 in Vina, with line-up set for 5:30 p.m. at the Vina Fire Department and the parade starting at 6 p.m. Vina’s theme this year is Candy Cane Christmas.
Parade coordinator Denise Rogers said she thought the sweet and simple theme would make it easy for anyone to participate. “It will keep the kids involved,” said Rogers.
In addition to floats, the parade will feature several antique cars, the Vina High School band, fire trucks and, of course, the jolly man himself, Santa Claus. “Anybody who would like to be in the parade can just come to the fire department and we’ll get them put in place and lined up,” Rogers said.
Rogers said the grand marshal for Vina’s parade will be Sarah Holland. “She’s the oldest resident in the Town of Vina” – at 92 years old. “She was so excited. She was just honored. She’s all for it.”
Trophies and monetary prizes will be given out to parade participants as they go along.
Phil Campbell’s parade will be held Dec. 8 at 6 p.m. Line-up is at 5 p.m. at the school. This will wrap up the holiday parade schedule for the county.
This parade season, Franklin County Chamber of Commerce Director Cassie Medley encouraged parents to supervise their children and make sure each county parade is a safe and enjoyable experience for everyone.