• 77°

Tree lighting set for Thursday

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas in Crenshaw County as the community gears up for the annual tree lighting ceremony and Christmas parade in downtown Luverne.

Each year, citizens gather together at the Pepsi Pavilion for the ceremonial lighting of the Christmas tree, and are able to spend time fellowshipping with one another while getting into the Christmas spirit. This year, the tree lighting ceremony will be held Thursday starting at 6 p.m.

Carol Staller, secretary for the Crenshaw County Chamber of Commerce, has been apart of the lighting ceremony since it began five years ago, and she is always impressed by the growth in participation each year.

“It’s a good family event. We sing carols, last year we had hot chocolate and cinnamon buns, so there’s something for everyone,” said Staller.

Local choirs are encouraged to come to the lighting ceremony and share Christmas arrangements, and kindergarten classes from Crenshaw County schools are asked to make ornaments for the tree each year. Children are then given the chance at the ceremony to add their ornament to the tree.

On Saturday, the Christmas parade festivities along with the Main Street Market will kick off early in the morning. The Main Street Market will begin at 8 a.m. and will run until 5 p.m. that evening. Booths and vendors will be set up along the street to welcome shoppers, and stores along Main Street are encouraged to stay open until 7:30 p.m.

For those involved in the parade, line up begins at 9:30 a.m. at the old armory at 6th Street and 3rd Street. Families will also have the opportunity to meet and greet with Santa and Mrs. Claus before and after the parade in the Pepsi Pavilion. Santa will arrive at 10 a.m. for photos and will be back directly after the parade.

The parade will begin at 11 a.m. and will feature a multitude of different floats and vehicles such as fire trucks and more than 100 motorcycles. Homecoming queens from Crenshaw County schools will also be featured throughout the parade.

As it was when the parade was first formed, the purpose is still to provide toys for the annual Department of Human Resources (DHR) toy drive. Those still interested in participating in the parade need only to bring a toy to donate to DHR. The toys will be collected at the end of the parade and distributed by DHR.

The 2015 Citizen of the Year will be Sandy Walker. She and Mayor Pat Walker will have the opportunity to ride in an open buggy throughout the parade. According to Staller, people from Troy, Greenville and other surrounding cities have already expressed interest in participating in this year’s parade, and all those still interested are welcome to attend and participate.