Riverboat parade lights up the night

Published 2:08 pm Wednesday, December 13, 2023

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On Dec. 10, Selma came alive with the twinkle of lights and the spirit of the season during its annual riverboat parade. The festivities kicked off at 3 p.m. at Riverfront Park on Water Avenue, where Santa’s village welcomed visitors with a delightful array of treats from food vendors, including popcorn, hot dogs, funnel cake, and fried Oreos. 

Operation Ornament, a non-profit organization, generously distributed bags of free Christmas ornaments, extending a heartfelt gesture to those still recovering from the January tornado.

Children reveled in a winter wonderland of activities, enjoying train rides, bouncing in a train-shaped bounce house, ice skating, and getting creative at the Grinch Station with holiday crafts. As the clock struck 5 p.m., the crowd gathered for the bridge tree lighting, illuminated by the warm glow of holiday cheer. Selma Mayor James Perkins took the stage, delivering a short but poignant speech, emphasizing the significance of celebrating life and each other during this special season.

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“This is a season for us to celebrate life. A season for us to celebrate each other,” Perkins said. “So I just want to say to the entire community, happy holiday season, Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah—whatever you may celebrate—let’s just celebrate.”

The enchanting atmosphere continued with festive performances by the RB Hudson, Meadow View, and Selma High School choirs, setting the tone for the magical evening. As the sun dipped below the horizon, spectators gathered behind the St. James Hotel to witness a dazzling display—the Christmas-themed boats parading down the Alabama River, with a special appearance by none other than Santa Claus himself. 

The night concluded on a high note with an explosive fireworks show, a brilliant finale to Selma’s festive celebration that left the community in awe of the holiday spirit that enveloped the city.