Christmas comes to Selma

Published 12:00 am Sunday, December 5, 2004

Themes of peace, love, joy and harmony will be found all across Selma this week as the city celebrates the festive holiday season. With so many activities and events taking place, residents have ample opportunity to get into the Christmas spirit.

The Christmas season was officially kicked-off in Selma on Dec. 2 with the lighting of the wreaths, candy canes and trees along Broad Street.

Not only are these downtown decorations used to bring a little holiday cheer, they also serve as reminders to visitors and locals that Selma is a place to be this Christmas.

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The Messiah Concert/Selma High Concert

One of Selma’s longest running holiday events will take place tonight at 7 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church. The Selma Choral Society, representing the city’s diverse mix of citizens, will perform the first two parts of George Handel’s “Messiah” along with a few traditional Christmas carols.

The 35-member choir will be under the direction of Gordon Welch, Minister of Music at First Baptist Church and accompanied by First Presbyterian music director Sarah Morelock.

All of the choir members are volunteers and the concert is free to the public.

“This is our Christmas gift to the community,” Welch said.

For those really into the Christmas spirit, they can experience two choirs in one night.

At 4 p.m. on Sunday, The Selma High Choir will be presenting their Christmas Concert at the high school. This award-winning and nationally renowned choir will be performing favorite Christmas carols.

Tickets to the Selma High concert are $5 per person.

Community of Light

Christmas is a time of year when people tend to reflect on the past and remember those who have gone before us.

Dallas County residents can pay tribute those who have died, or honor someone they respect and love, during the Community of Light program on Dec. 10 from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Vaughan Place Assisted Living Facility.

The Community of Light program-hosted by the Selma and Dallas County Chamber of Commerce, Vaughan Community Health Services and Vaughan Assisted Living Facility-is a free event to the public.

The drive leading to the Vaughan Assisted Living facility will be lit with rows of glowing luminaries and numerous handcrafted and unique Christmas decorations.

“Choirs will be singing, a live Nativity scene will be re-enacted, a beautiful Currier and Ives Christmas card will come alive with music, and Santa will be on hand to wave to everyone as they drive-through,” said Claire Twardy, chamber executive director.

Visitors to the Community of Light program will be allowed to walk or drive through the area.

Luminaries will be on sale for $5 at the Chamber until Dec. 9.

Holiday Parade

After braving the chilly night to view the unique Christmas decorations and memorial lights at the Vaughan Assisted Living Facility, Selma residents and visitors will have to get up early witness another popular tradition.

The Holiday Parade sponsored by the Selma and Dallas County Chamber of Commerce will take place downtown on Dec. 11 at 9 a.m.

Twardy said the parade begins at the foot of the Edmund Pettus Bridge and will continue down Broad Street to the YMCA building.

“It’s going to be a great event,” Twardy said. “All the city officials are going to be in the parade.”

Several local civic and social clubs are also participating in the parade to help bring a little Christmas cheer.

And of course, Twardy said, the parade would not be complete without an appearance from Santa Claus.

Twardy said the deadline to register to be in the parade is Dec. 9. There is a $10 to walk the route, and a $20 fee for motorized vehicles.

“The theme for this year is ‘Home for the Holidays’,” Twardy said. “All the motorized vehicles have to play Christmas music.”

To participate in the parade, and get a list of the rules to follow, contact the Chamber at 875-7241.

Christmas on the Alabama River Boat Parade

The week of festivities will end with an actual bang on the evening of Dec. 11.

A fireworks display will light up the night sky above the Alabama River during the annual Christmas on the Alabama River parade sponsored by the Selma Boating Association.

Shortly after 6 p.m. on Saturday, boaters from across Dallas County will float their decorated boats down the river for all to see and enjoy.

“There is going to be fireworks once the boats reach the St. James Hotel. Then there is going to be fireworks after each boat,” said Ralph Jones, president of the Boating Association. “This year, we’re going to have the best fireworks display we’ve ever had.”

The best viewing area to watch the parade, Jones said, would be on the bank of the river near the St. James.

Three judges will be stationed at the St. James during the parade to decided the best decorated boats in the bunch.

Winners of the decorating contest will receive a plaque for first-, second-, or third-place.

“Every entrant will also receive a plaque for being a part of the parade,” Jones said.

Jones said all those participating in the parade can take their boats to the Old Armory on West Dallas Avenue in order to decorate them indoors.

“We would love to have new participants this year. We have a lot of comradery and fun,” he said. “The Selma Boating Association will help defray the cost of the decorations if they bring us their receipts.”

Jones said the Selma Boating Association hosts the parade as a way to bring the community together during the holiday season.

“Our only purpose for doing this is to give back to the community,” Jones said.

Jones said he needs more participates for this year’s parade, and anyone who like to be a part of the parade is more than welcome.

There is no deadline to sign-up for the parade, but those who would like to participate should contact Jones at 875-8844.