Building sensitivity skills for festival

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 14, 2005

I hope most of you were able to get out and enjoy the numerous festivities of this year’s “Christmas on the River” because, if you did not, you will never have another chance to do so for “Christmas on the River” is history.

I don’t mean that it is over for the year….I mean it is history.

For you see, the Chamber is ready to get with the times, so we are replacing “Christmas on the River” with “Holiday on the River.”

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This, of course, will demand that we make adjustments to several of the different events of that week.

For example, the annual naming of a local person as our “Saint Nick” is out.

The new designation will be “The Cosmopolitan Citizen Award.”

The “Christmas in the Canebrake,” which is the event that showcases our historic homes is now pass/, sort of gone with the wind, you might say.

Next year this event will be called “The Pleasantries from the Past Tour.”

And instead of tapping your toes during the Wednesday night event that features Christmas carols and a Christmas service at one of the area churches, we will be asking that you come out to the Civic Center and sing songs to the “universal spirit of feel-goodism,” and pledge allegiance to the U.N.

Discussions regarding the Friday night event that features the “Alabama State Championship BBQ Cook-Off” are still taking place.

Some feel that this event is too discriminatory, that it should be more inclusive and allow the cooking of all meats in any manner.

There have also been suggestions that there really shouldn’t be the choosing of a “champion” for this event because, by doing so, you are implying that there will be losers.

It is held that all contestants, by their sheer willingness to compete, are really winners.

If this proves to be the direction in which we will go, then this event will be renamed the “Alabama State-All Meat Inclusive-Cooked Any Way You Like-All Are Champions-Cooking Event.”

The 5 K Jingle Bell Run will be allowed to stay the same but the Canebrake Players’ “Christmas Story” play will have to be substituted with something more appropriate, like maybe something along the line of the newer Broadway play “Rent.”

And finally, some of the nautical-parade floats will require some adjustments.

Any with blatant Christmas themes, such as a baby in a manger with accompanying angels, will need to be replaced with a float showing generic gift boxes under a “holiday” tree.

And obviously, the float that depicts the three wise men from the east will be updated to include a female and a Hispanic.

I hope all of you will be enthusiastic like we are about our changes.

After all, you too need to stay up with the times.

If you are struggling with any of this, we have a “re-education” camp in Cambodia that we can send you to that is designed to work on your “sensitivity” skills.

In the meantime, Merry Chr……oops……I mean….Happy Holidays….

Jay Shows is President of the Demopolis Area Chamber of Commerce.

The Chamber may be reached at 334-289-0270 or