St. James plans New Year’s butterfly drop

Published 5:02 pm Thursday, December 24, 2015

By Emily EnfingerThe Selma Times-Journal

New traditions will kick off the new year in Selma at the St. James Hotel.

The historic hotel will be hosting its first black tie New Year’s celebration featuring live entertainment, a dance competition against Selma Mayor George Evans and a butterfly drop at midnight.

Email newsletter signup

“We want people to come out to dress to impress and be prepared to dance against the major,” said Mark Peterson, manager of the St. James Hotel.

The event is free to the public and is targeted to guests of ages 21 and above.

Councilwoman Angela Benjamin said that each year the celebration will feature a different theme with this year’s theme being “Take flight.”

“Selma’s motto is ‘From Civil War to civil rights and beyond’ and we are trying to work on the beyond part,” Benjamin said.

Talks and presentations will be given throughout the night to talk about Selma’s progression over the years.

“We will do that throughout the night to remind people that we have come a long way,” Benjamin said.

The night will kick off with hor d’oeuvres and half-priced drinks from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m.

Televisions and food such as pizza and wings will be set up in the bar and dining room for those who want to watch the University of Alabama versus Michigan State playoff game.

Live entertainment including local artists such as Jamarcus Legg, American Idol XV contestant Natasha “T-Honey” Brown and others will begin at 9:30 p.m.

At 11 p.m., partygoers will have the opportunity to compete against Evans in a dancing competition event called, “Can you dance better than the Mayor?”

After a $1 entry fee, names are picked from a hat to determine contestants. Contestants have the chance to win a free night and two free entrees at the St. James Hotel.

Following the dance competition, hostesses will pass out toast glasses to guests and Evans will present a New Year’s resolution to Selma before the butterfly drop. Benjamin said the idea for the butterfly drop came after a discussion of the annual ball drop in New York and the annual moon pie drop in Mobile.

“We thought, ‘Why can’t Selma, the butterfly capital of Alabama, do a butterfly drop?’ We can do that… Mobile does a moon pie drop,” Benjamin said.

This year’s butterfly will be constructed by paper mache and will be embellished with lights. Benjamin said they have plans of a more permanent butterfly for next year. Peterson said other plans for next year include blocking off part of Water Avenue to make it a street festival.