One of founders ends tenure this year

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 4, 2003

This Christmas on the River will be the end of an era. It will be the end of the "Bird" era.

The "Bird" era began two years after the celebration known as COTR was first started in 1972.

Jim Bird has had his hands in everything that is Christmas on the River for the last 30 years. He put his first Christmas float, which was a big star in the water almost 25 years ago. He also had a big 1400-pound steer with a rooster wearing a top hat riding it in his first day parade.

Email newsletter signup

He was also the first person to put neon lights on his float over 25 years ago.

Bird needed all the help he could gather for this job including a person suffering a heart attack.

Another memory of Bird’s was that one time he made a dove over 40 feet long covered with ribbon with lights inside.

He then started working on the now famous lead float, the Christmas elves playing their different instruments about 20 years ago.

Jim Parr is taking over Bird’s position with the night parade and has visions of rebuilding the lead float that is currently over 20 years old and in bad condition.

One of his fondest memories about the night parade was when Bird’s boat sank the morning of the parade.

Jim Bird has not only helped put Christmas on the River on the map as one of the most visited Christmas events in the South, but has also made himself a local celebrity with his hay sculptures.

Jim Bird will be missed as one of the driving forces behind the Christmas on the River parade, but the city will never forget him.