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Inaugural ChillyFest gets under way

It was certainly a chilly night as Linden’s ChillyFest got underway Friday night with the annual Parade of Lights.

“We had a great turnout this year,” said festival organizer Bruce Ward. “It just keeps getting better every year.”

About 25 floats flooded with lights, decorations and children throwing handfuls of candy made its way past Gazebo Park on its way down U.S. Highway 43.

“We had so many great entries this year. It was so much fun to watch,” said Linden mayor Mitzi Gates. “We had the characters of Charlie Brown, Linden High School’s marching band, our restored 1948 fire truck, classic cars and floats with scenes of winter wonderland and Christmas memories.”

Before the parade started, the carnival opened in front of the Linden Elementary School. It will open again today at 10 a.m.

Also, carolers from area churches provided sounds of the season at Gazebo Park. A professional fireworks show rounded out the night at 9 p.m.

Ward said winners were selected in two categories: schools, churches and organizations, and businesses. They will be announced today at the judging of the chili cookoff at 2 p.m.

Today’s activities open up with the 5K Chilly Chili Run, walk and fun run at 9 a.m.

A slate of local and regional entertainers will be providing music throughout the day and a variety of food and arts and crafts vendors will be located around Gazebo Park.

Sixteen cooking teams will be brewing their own chili concoctions in the annual chili cookoff. Judging will begin at 2 p.m.

From 1 to 3 p.m., the big man himself, Santa Claus, will be in town and will be making himself available for all good little boys and girls. The kids can get their picture with Santa and make sure they place their Christmas order.

A car show will also be held throughout the day with judging car show at 2 p.m.

For more information about the festival go to the city’s website at www.lindenalabama.net. Follow the links to the ChillyFest information. You can also call Ward at 295-4121.