Parades inspire holiday spirit
Christmas is coming soon, and that can mean only one thing: tis the season for Christmas parades.
“It just gets people in the Christmas spirit,” said Denise Rogers, who coordinates the Vina Christmas Parade. “It doesn’t take much to get you excited and get you ready for Christmas.”
Vina will kick off parade season for Franklin County Dec. 1. The parade will begin at 6 p.m., with line-up set for 5:30 p.m. at the Vina Fire Department. Vina’s theme this year is Bethlehem Christmas.
“I just wanted something Biblical – trying to keep Christ in things. It seems like he’s being taken out of everything,” Rogers said.
Parade entries, Rogers added, will usually try to decorate according to the theme in hopes of winning a trophy or cash prize. In addition to floats, the parade will feature several antique cars, the Vina High School band, all fire trucks from Red Bay, Hodges, Burnout and Vina and, of course, the jolly man himself, Santa Claus.
The parade route will leave from the fire department and run down Highway 19 to the Chevron and through town.
Grand marshals for Vina’s parade will be Vernon and Everlean Coats, who moved to Vina in 2006. Both were born and raised in Franklin County.
Rogers said the half-hour parade will be preceded by Christmas music over a loudspeaker system, beginning about 30 minutes beforehand.
“People start gathering in, and they love that,” Rogers said.
Just two days later, Russellville will keep people in the holiday spirit with its Christmas parade Dec. 3 at 6 p.m., with line-up at 5:15 p.m. Russellville’s theme will be Sounds of Christmas. Each parade entry will follow the theme by incorporating a favorite Christmas sound or song.
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 Jimmy Montgomery, Farm-City Citizen of the Year. Santa Steve Bell will also be a special guest.
Russellville’s parade will run down Jackson Avenue to Cotaco Street from Big Star.
Red Bay’s parade will be held Dec. 7 at 6 p.m., with line-up at 5 p.m. Mayor David Tiffin and Richard Hammock will serve as the masters of ceremonies, with music on-stage at 5:30 p.m., across from the old hotel on Main Street. Red Bay Hospital, Holcomb said, will serve hot chocolate for parade-goers in front of the hotel.
“We draw quite a crowd,” said Linda Holcomb, who helps coordinate the Red Bay Christmas Parade.
Parade participants will include elected officials, dignitaries and election candidates, in addition to floats.
Grand marshals for the parade will be the city’s NACOLG employees, who will be followed closely behind by the school’s foster grandparents. Both these groups of honored guests are recognized by the parade’s theme: Hometown Heroes at Christmas.
“Their wages aren’t great, but they are our heroes,” said Holcomb, who praised these people’s hard work to beautify the town and care for the community. “They go above and beyond.”
Holcomb said they “expect quite a large parade,” which will feature the Vina High School and Red Bay High School bands, in addition to floats and vehicles.
West of the judges’ stand, on the south side, a special area will be roped off for parking for people with mobility limitations.
In the case of inclement weather, the parade will be held Dec. 14 at 6 p.m.
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.
Ann Bragwell at Phil Campbell City Hall said Phil Campbell’s parade will go through the downtown from the High School to Piggly Wiggly. The parade will be held Dec. 11 at 6 p.m.
“We welcome any floats or anyone who would like to be in the parade,” Bragwell said. “Of course Santa Claus will be there … He will be in the park after the parade for any kids who want to talk to him.”
No 18-wheelers or animals will be permitted in Phil Campbell’s parade.
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.
County parade schedule
– Dec. 1 at Vina
– Dec. 3 at Russellville
– Dec. 7 at Red Bay
– Dec. 11 at Phil Campbell
*All parades will begin at 6 p.m.