The Tuscaloosa County Parks and Recreation Authority will host the 36th Annual West Alabama Christmas Parade on Monday, Dec. 5. With the events of April 27th still looming, this year’s theme is “A Christmas of Hope.”
For the past 35 years, there has been a Grand Marshal of the parade, but this year a flag will take the place of the person who usually holds that honor. Many people were nominated to serve as Grand Marshal, but the selection committee, composed of representatives from organizations in the community, chose to have a flag in order to honor everyone in the community.
The flag was designed by Anthony Bratina of the Tuscaloosa News and sponsored by Walter Energy.
According to Becky Booker, parade chairwoman, the flag features the number 52 to honor those who were lost as a result of the tornado, a ribbon to represent those who were affected and a red rose to honor those who responded, came to aid or volunteered to help.
By displaying the flag, the committee felt everyone involved would be honored. The display is also a reminder that the community is confident that it will recover.
According to the Tuscaloosa Community Parks and Recreation Authority’s website, the parade is the largest of its kind in the area. More than 200 floats, decorated vehicles, marching bands, horses and Santa will be featured that evening, and before the parade, a tree lighting ceremony will take place on the steps of the Tuscaloosa County Courthouse.
In the past, the Grand Marshal has been the one to flip the switch to light the tree, but this year PARA Executive Director Gary Minor will perform that duty. Last year’s Grand Marshals for the 35th Annual parade were Alvin P. DuPont, mayor of the City of Tuscaloosa for 24 years, and Theophilus Danzy, who brought back the Stillman College football program after it was nonexistent for 50 years.
The parade participants are also judged on their entry. Last year’s overall winner was the Tuscaloosa Department of Transportation and the first place band represented Northside High School.
The parade starts at 6:30 p.m. and will begin at the corner of 11th Street and Greensboro Avenue. The Christmas tree lighting ceremony will begin at 5:15 p.m. outside the Tuscaloosa County Courthouse. For more information, visit tcpara.org.
IF YOU GO
What: West Alabama Christmas Parade
When: Monday, Dec. 5 at 6:30 p.m.
Where: University Boulevard