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Ann Parsons named 2008 Saint Nicholas

Ann Parsons was named Saint Nicholas for the 2008 Christmas on the River festival at the Demopolis Civic Center Monday night, making her the guest of honor at all COTR functions.

Parsons was selected from eight nominees, each of whom demonstrated a kind heart and humble dedication to children. Those nominated included Tom Causey, Bobby Coplin, Polly Dinning, Paula Parr, Arletha Perry, Jennifer Roemen and John Wallace.

Asked how she felt about being named this year’s Saint Nicholas, Parsons answered, “Shocked — honored! It’s a great honor, to be chosen from among the quality people who were here. I was very surprised!”

Parr was named Christmas on the River Ambassador, an honor which Roemen said she had earned before she was even nominated for Saint Nicholas.

The Saint Nicholas program began with a performance from the Demopolis High School and Demopolis Middle School choirs, directed by Perry and accompanied on the piano by Tony Nixon.

Demopolis mayor Mike Grayson and COTR chair Kirk Brooker then spoke about Christmas on the River and the week of activities ahead.

The 2008 Civitan Club Christmas on the River Special Child, Shenteria Ravy, was introduced and made an honorary elf among the other elves who had come to help with the program.

Young Miss Christmas on the River first alternate Camilla Tutt performed a song, and prizes were awarded to children who made lanterns or brought a toy for a needy child. Winners included kindergartener Zachary Allen, first-grader Miracle Jones, second-grader Anna Causey, third-grader Taylor Baird, fourth-grader Gavin Webb and fifth-grader Michael Brown.

Roemen, who was also the chair of the Saint Nicholas committee, read “A Visit from Saint Nicholas” by Clement Clarke Moore to the children who had brought lanterns, who sat in front of the stage.

Parsons’ award marked the 20th annual naming of Saint Nicholas for Christmas on the River. Pat Hinson and Jim Carlson were both named to the first Saint Nicholas award in 1989.

Other previous Saint Nicholases included George Franks (1990), Mike Cevasco (1991), Roemen (1992), Bea Den Bleyker and Charles Roberts (1993), Alvin Williams (1994), Dr. Stanhope Brasfield (1995), Gus Weiss (1996), Dessie Williford (1997), Mitch Tanner (1998), Peter Jones (1999), Laverne Riley (2000), Sandy Yeager (in memory, 2001), San Wilson (2002), Burnquetta Johnson (2003), Booker Barlow (2004), Terry Sprinkle (2005), June and Verne Humble (2006) and Albert “Can’ Good” Thomas. (2007).